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The copy right of this work is secured for the benefit of the People of the State of New- York. 


Secretary of State. 
Albany, IS 42. 

-i %.<^. 









PART ai. 









NEW-YORK, ^^^-^0 /^.f..^ai ^isu^j ^-vy. 






Br mm i w ui 







New-York is situated between 40° 30' and 45* of north latitude, and between 
5° b' of east and 2" 55' of west longitude from the city of Washington. The 
state includes an area of 46,200 square miles, divided into fifty-nine counties, and 
subdivided into nine cities, eight hundred and thirty-five towns, and one hundred 
and forty-five incorporated villages ; and contains 2,428,921 inhabitants ; of whom 
2,378,890 are free white persons, 50,027 are free colored persons, and four are 
colored slaves.* The government is a representative republic, with a written con- 
stitution, which was framed by a convention in 1821, and approved by the people in 
a popular election in 1822. The few remaining descendants of the aborigines 
are neither enimierated, nor admitted to citizenship. Persons of African descent, 
possessing freeholds worth two hundred and fifty dollars, enjoy the right of suf- 
frage. Aliens are excluded until they become naturalized according to the laws 
of congress, after five years' residence in the United States. All male citizens 
who have attained the age of twenty-one years, and resided in the state one year, 

♦ U. S. census, 1840. 

Lntr. 1 


vote for all officers elected by the people, and may be chosen or appointed to 
places of trust or profit ; but the governor must be a native citizen of the United 
States, and a freeholder, aged not less than thirty years, and must have been an 
inhabitant of this state five years previously to his election, unless absent on public 
business ; and only freeholders can be elected senators. Elections are conducted 
by ballot. The constitution guarantees the franchises of citizenship to every 
member of the state, unless he be deprived of them liy the law of the land or 
the judgment of his peers. Among those franchises are trial by jury, the writ of 
habeas corpus, liberty of speech and of the press, and free enjoyment of religious 
profession and worship. The government can make no discrimination or pre- 
ference of relioion, nor any provision for an ecclesiastical establishment, and the 
clergy are excluded from civil functions. A militia composed only of citizens 
who are enrolled, and required to appear under arms twice in each year, con- 
stitutes the only force within the state, relied on for public defence or mainte- 
nance of the civil authorities ; but the constitution of the United States guarantees 
to the state security against invasion and domestic insurrection. There are four 
departments of the government: the legislative, executive, administrative and 
judicial. The legislative power is absolute, except as restricted by the federal 
and state constitutions. A senate and an assembly constitute the legislature. 
The senate is composed of thirty-two members, who are elected by the people 
in eight equal senatorial districts, and remain in office four years. One senator 
is annually elected in each district. The assembly consists of one hundred and 
twenty-eight members, who are elected by the people in counties, each of which 
is represented in proportion to its population. The lieutenant-governor, elected 
by the people, presides and has only a casting vote in the senate. A speaker 
freely elected by the assembly presides in that body. Bills originate in either 
house, and become laws when passed by both houses and approved by the gover- 
nor, or when they receive the votes of two-thirds of the members present not- 
withstanding the executive veto. Laws to create or alter corporations require 
the assent of two-thirds of all the members elected in each house. 


The governor constitutes the executive department, is biennially elected by 
the people, is commander-in-chief of the militia and admiral of the navy, and is 
charged with the execution of the laws. He annually communicates to the legis- 
lature the condition of the state, and recommends such measures as he deems 
expedient. He is invested with power to pardon in all cases whatsoever, except 
treason, and may suspend the execution of persons convicted of that crime until 
the pleasure of the legislature shall be made known. In case of his death, absence 
or incapacity, the executive functions devolve upon the lieutenant-governor. The 
administrative department is intrusted with the fiscal interests of the state, and is 
divided among a secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, surveyor-general, attor- 
ney-general, commissary-general, commissioners of the canal fund, commissioners 
of the land-office, and canal commissioners ; each of whom, by virtue of the consti- 
tution or laws, is appointed by the legislature without the interposition of the execu- 
tive authority. There is a court for the trial of impeachments and the correction 
of errors, which is composed of the lieutenant-governor, senators, chancellor, and 
the justices of the supreme court. Articles of impeachment may be preferred by 
the assembly against the governor and all administrative and judicial oflficers, and 
the votes of two-thirds of the members of the court for the trial of impeachments 
are necessary to a conviction. The court may remove the party convicted from 
office. The same court reviews the judgments and decrees of the supreme court 
and the court of chancery. The supreme court is a court of law, having jurisdic- 
tion in civil and criminal cases ; and consists of three justices, each of whom holds 
his office until he attains the age of sixty years. Issues of fact are tried by jury 
before circuit judges who hold circuit courts, and by the county coiuts ; and such 
issues in criminal cases are tried by jury in courts of oyer and terminer and general 
sessions in the several counties. The supreme court reviews the judgments of all 
inferior legal tribunals. County courts of common pleas and general sessions are 
held by local judges, who hold their offices five years, and review the proceedings 
in justices' courts. There are four justices of the peace in each town ; they are 
elected by the people, and hold their offices four years, and have jiu-isdiction in 


civil cases, and in litigated cases may render judgments not exceeding one 
hundred dollars. Three justices constitute a court of special sessions for the trial 
of small offences. Equity is administered by a chancellor and by nine subordinate 
vice-chancellors, of whom six are also circuit judges. The chancellor and circuit 
judges respectively hold their offices until the age of sixty years. All judicial 
officers, except justices of the peace in towns, are nominated by the governor, 
and ajjpointed by him with the advice and consent of the senate. He also ap- 
points in like manner major-generals, izispectors of brigades, and officers of the 
general staff of the militia, except the commissary-general. The constitution 
may be amended ; and for that purpose a resolution must be passed by a majority 
of the legislature at one session, and at a succeeding session by the votes of two- 
thirds of all the members elected, and be approved at the next general election 
by a majority of the people. The present constitution was established in the 
place of one which had been adopted in 1777. 

The Bay of New- York is supposed to have been visited by Verazzani, under 
the patronage of Francis I. of France, in 1584.* In 1609, Champlain, a mariner 
in the French service, explored the northern waters,t and Hendrick Hudson, 
under a commission from the States General of the Netherlands, ascended the 
river whose name so justly commemorates the enterprise of that navigator. f 
The settlement of the southern portion of the state, under the name of New- 
Netherlands, was commenced in the subsequent year. The colony submitted 
to the English in 1664,§ and was regained by the Netherlands in 1673, || but was 
relinquished to England by the treaty of Westminster in the succeeding year, 
and remained a province of the British empire until the thirteen united British 
colonies became an independent confederacy of states in 1776. During the 
Dutch supremacy, the province was a mercantile possession of the Dutch East 
India Company. Under the English, it was by royal charter a manor belonging 
to the Duke of York. In 1683, the discontent of the colonists induced the con- 

♦ Bancroft. t Id. l Id. 5 Id. II Id. 


sent of the proprietor to the uistltution of a representative assembly* After 
that period, restricted legislative powers w^ere vested in the governor and council 
" and the people met in general assembly." 

Although the States General of the Netherlands vv^ere at the zenith of com- 
mercial power, and learning and the arts were cherished in that country, when 
the colony was planted, its inhabitants seem not to have been distinguished by 
intellectual acquirements ;t and although the conquest occurred at a time when 
the English people had attained even an higher supremacy in literature than in 
arms, yet that event seems not to have resulted in an improvement of the con- 
dition of society.^ Knowledge dawned upon the colony about the year 1754,§ 
but was obscured during the civil commotions which a little more than twenty 
years afterwards resulted in its political independence. 

Columbia College was established by royal charter, under the name of King's 
College, in 1754, under the care of doctor Samuel Johnson of Connecticut, as 
president. The governors of the college were the archbishop of Canterbury, 
the first lord commissioner for trade and plantations, the lieutenant-governor of 
the 23rovince, and several other public officers, together with the rector of Trinity 
Church, the senior minister of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, the 
ministers of the German Lutheran Church, of the French Church and of the 
Presbyterian Church, the president of the college, and twenty-four of the prin- 
cipal gentlemen of the city. The college was endowed with funds derived from 
lotteries, and voluntary contributions of private individuals in this country, and in 
England and France. Dr. Johnson was succeeded as president in 1763, by the 
reverend Miles Cooper, D.D. of Oxford. He, in 1767, acknowledged that the 
institution had recently received great emoluments from his majesty king George 
III., from liberal contributions by many of the nobihty and gentry in the parent 
country, from the Society for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, and 
from several public spirited gentlemen in America and elsewhere. He gave also 

♦ Bancroft. t Clinton, Introductory Discourse. ) Id. § Ib, 


this account of the success of the institution : " That the governors of the college 
had been enabled to extend its plan of education almost as diffusely as that of 
any college in Europe ; there being taught therein divinity, national law, physic, 
logic, ethics, metaphysics, mathematics, natural philosophy, astronomy, geography, 
history, chronology, rhetoric ; the Hebrew, Greek, Latin and modern languages ; 
the belles-lettres, and whatever else of literature may tend to accomplish the 
pupils both as scholars and gentlemen." At the commencement of the revolu- 
tion, the presidency devolved upon the right reverend Benjamin Moore, bishop 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church ; and the chair has since been filled by Wil- 
liam Samuel Johnson, doctor Wliarton, William Harris and William A. Duer.* 
The fair beginning of education in the colony was arrested by the revolutionary 
war ; and the college was not reorganized until 1787, when, under the immediate 
sujjerintendence of the newly created regents of the university, the institution 
assumed the name of Columbia College, and its charter, with some necessary 
alterations, was confirmed.f 

Education was recognized as among the proper responsibilities of the govern- 
ment in 1784, by an act "erecting an university within this state." What 
appears to have been chiefly intended by this act, was to convert King's, now 
Columbia College, into a state university. The principal officers of the state 
were made, ex-officio, regents, and twenty-four other persons were appointed, 
and it was provided that each religious denomination in the state might appoint 
one of its clergy to be a regent. The regents were empowered to establish 
colleges and schools, which should be considered as parts of the university. This 
law was amended in November of the same year, and was revised in 1787. The 
provision authorizing the clergy to appoint a regent proved impracticable, and 
was repealed. The constitution of the university is at present substantially such 
as it was made by this last revision. 

Among the many distinguished patrons of learning who have held seats in the 

» Historical sketch of Columbia College, 1826. t Laws of New- York, 1784. 


board of regents, may be named George Clinton, John Jay, Morgan Lewis, Daniel 
D. Tompkins, De Witt Clinton, Joseph C. Yates, Martin Van Buren, Enos T. 
Throop and William L. Marcy, former governors of the state ; Pierre Van Cort- 
landt, Stephen Van Rensselaer, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, John Broome, John 
Tayler, Erastus Root, James Tallmadge, Nathaniel Pitcher, Edward P. Livingston 
and John Tracy, former lieutenant-governors ; Egbert Benson, PhUip Schuyler, 
Ezra L'Hommedieu, Lewis Morris, Matthew Clarkson, Benjamin Moore, Eilar- 
dus Westerlo, Baron de Steuben, GuHan A'erplanck, Zephaniah Piatt, James 
Watson, Abraham Van Vechten, Simeon De Witt, James Kent, Henry Rutgers, 
Ambrose Spencer, Peter Gansevoort, Solomon Southwick, Smith Thompson, 
John Wood worth, John Lansing junior, Samuel Young, Nathan Williams, William 
A. Duer, Harmanus Bleecker, Samuel A. Talcott, Peter B. Porter, Robert Troup, 
Jesse Buel, Benjamin F. Butler, John Sudam, John P. Cushman and Washington 
Irving. The present regents are the governor; Luther Bradish, lieutenant- 
governor ; Samuel Young, the secretary of state ; Elisha Jenkins, James Thomp- 
son, Peter Wendell, John Greig, Gulian C. Verplanck, Gerrit Y. Lansing, John 
K. Paige, John A. Dix, William Campbell, Erastus Corning, Prosper M. Wetmore, 
James McKown, John L. Graham, Amasa J. Parker, John McLean, Joseph Rus- 
sell, John C. Spencer, Gideon Hawley and David Buel. 

Union College at Schenectady was established by the regents in 1795, after 
striking out a provision in the plan submitted, which declared that a majority of 
the trustees of the college should not, at any time, be composed of persons of the 
same religious sect or denomination.* The charter contained the singular pro- 
vision that the clear annual value of the real property of the institution should not 
exceed thirteen thousand three hundred and thirty-three dollars ; and declared that 
the trustees should not exclude any person on account of his particular tenets or 
religion, from admission into the college. In 1797, the trustees of the college, as 
appears from the report of the condition of the institution, gave instruction con- 

* Proceedings of the Regents of the University. 


cerning the constitution of the United States, and the several state constitutions, 
and proposed to substitute tuition in the French language for the Greek. In 
1828, the trustees of the college reported that they had jjrescribed two distinct 
courses, the one embracing such classical studies as were usually pursued ; and 
the other called the scientific course, substituting modern in the place of ancient 
languages, and including instruction in mathematics, anatomy, physiology, law, 
etc. Similar arrangements were al^out the same time made in the other collegi- 
ate institutions, but the classical course has nevertheless continued to be the chief 
form of instruction in these seminaries. The first president of Union College 
was the reverend John B. Smith, D.D. He was succeeded in 1799 by the reve- 
rend Jonathan Edwards, D.D., who died in 1801 ; when the reverend Jonathan 
Maxcy, D.D. was appointed, who retained the place until 1804. In that year 
the reverend Eliphalet Nott, L.L.D., succeeded to that office, which he yet retains. 
Among the j^atrons of this institution were Robert Yates, Abraham Ten Broeck, 
John Glenn, Stephen Van Rensselaer, Henry Walton, Joseph C. Yates, John Fry, 
Jonas Piatt, Stephen N. Bayard, Theodore Romeyn, John V. Henry, Philip Van 
Rensselaer, Guert Van Schoonhoven, James Emott, James Duane, Samuel Blatch- 
ford, Jonas Coe, William James and Henry Yates. 

Hamilton College, at Clinton, was founded by the regents of the university in 
1812, under the care of the reverend Asahel Backus, D.D. as president. His 
successors have been the reverend Henry Davis, D.D., 1817 ; the reverend Se- 
reno E. Dwight, D.D., 1833 ; the reverend Joseph Penny, D.D., 1835 ; and the 
reverend Simeon A. North, A.M., who assumed that office in 1839. Among the 
names of the distinguished jjatrons of the college are those of Simon Newton 
Dexter and William H. Maynard. 

Geneva college was incorporated in 1825. Its first president was the reverend 
Jasper Adams, D.D. He was succeeded by the reverend Richard Sharp Mason 
in 1830 ; upon whose resignation in 1835 the reverend Benjamin Hale, D.D., 
was appointed to that office. Among the prominent patrons of the institution 
have been James Reese, Herman H. Bogart, William L. Dezang, John C. Spen- 


cer, Abraham Dox, Francis Dwight, Bowen Whiting, David Hudson, Thomas D. 
Burrill, James Carter, EUjah Miller, Jesse Clarke, John C. lludd, George Hos- 
mer, David E. Evans, Joseph Fellows, Jonathan Childs, Abraham M. Schermer- 
horn, Samuel Clark, the right reverend B. T. Onderdonk and the right reverend 
William H. De Lancey. 

The University of the city of New- York was established in 1830, under the 
care of the reverend J. M. Matthews, D.D. as its chancellor. The success and 
usefulness of the institution were for several years impaired by internal contro- 
versies which were not terminated until 1839, and by pecuniary embarrassments. 
Doctor Matthews having resigned, Theodore Frelinghuysen, L.L.D. was appoint- 
ed his successor, and yet remains chancellor of the institution. 

All these institutions have received liberal endowments from the state, and they 
educate annually about six hundred and fifty pupils. The colleges give instruc- 
tion in moral, intellectual and political philosophy ; In the Hebrew, Greek, Latin 
and modern languages and literature ; in natural and experimental philosophy 
and chemistry ; in mathematics, analytical mechanics and physical astronomy ; in 
law, civil polity and history, and political economy.* 

Clinton Academy in Suffolk county, and Erasmus Hall Academy in Kings 
county, incorporated in 1787, were the first academical institutions established by 
the regents of the university. Farmers' Hall Academy In Orange county, and 

* Complaints are often made that the standard of university education has been lowered since its introduction among 
us ; yet it cannot be admitted as in any sense true, that the amount of knowledge communicated is less now than at any 
former period. On the contrary, the assiduity of both instructors and pupils, as well as the facility of instruction, have 
been continually increased. The change which has taken place consists in a diminution of classical learning and of 
mental science and logic, and, perhaps, of moral and political science, and a substitution of more extensive instruction in 
physical science and practical matliematics. This change has resulted from the operation of our social system. Colle- 
giate education, instead of being reserved for the few, who, favored by fortune, might desire to prosecute recondite and 
classical studies during and after their course, and to enter at leisure upon the duties of active life, or refrain from them 
altogether, is now attainable by persons in almost every class, and is sought not so much for the sake of knowledge itself, 
as because it is among the means of preparation to enter the professional pursuits. Perhaps, therefore, our system of col- 
legiate education produces proportionably a smaller number of iiiiisheil scholars, while it secures to the country a larger 
body of useful citizens. Nevertheless beneficent as the general flow of knowledge is, those who have the care of its foun- 
tains deserve well of the country for every clTort to preserve them full of pure learning. The labors of the Rev. Dr. Hale, 
president of Geneva College, and his associates ; of the Reverend Dr. Alonzo Potter of Union College, and generally of 
the faculty and trustees of Columbia College, in this respect, merit especial commendation. 

Intr. 2 


North Salem Academy in Westchester, were estabHshed in 1790. Montgomery 
Academy, then in Ulster but now in Orange county, was incorporated in 1791. 
Dutchess Academy at Poughkeepsie, and Union Hall in Queens county, received 
their charters in 1792. In 1820, the number of academies subject to the visitation 
of the regents had risen to 30 ; in 1830, to 55 ; in 1841, to 127 ; and the number 
at this time is 131. In 1820, the number of pupils in all the academic institutions 
was 2,218 ; in 1830, 3,735 ; in 1840, 10,881 ; and the present number is 11,306.* 
The income of the public literature fund distributed to the several academies in 
1820, was two thousand five hundred dollars, being in the projiortion of three 
dollars and ninety three cents to each pupil pursuing classical studies ; in 1830, it 
was ten thousand dollars, or five dollars to every such pupil ; and the amount now 
annually distributed is forty thousand dollars, being about three dollars and 
seventy-eight cents for every such jaupil.f 

No especial public patronage was bestowed upon female education until 1S21, 
when the legislature incorporated the Albany Female Academy, and conferred 
upon it a donation of one thousand dollars. A law of 1827, increasing the litera- 
ture fund and extending to scholars in the higher branches of English education 
the advantages before enjoyed exclusively by those pursuing classical studies, 
resulted in admitting to a participation in the benefits of that fund, institutions 
devoted either entirely or in part to the education of females. The number of 
female pupils who, at the time that law was passed, enjoyed the benefits of aca- 
demic instruction under the sanction of the regents, was one hundred and fifteen ; 
the number at the present time is fifteen hundred and seventy. Institutions ex- 
clusively devoted to female education, and subject to the visitation of the regents, 
have been founded in Albany, Canandaigua, Poughkeepsie, Troy, Schenectady, 
Utica, Batavia, Rochester, New- York, Auburn, Le Roy, Fulton and Albion. In 
these institutions, instruction is given in arithmetic, algebra, botany, Biblical anti- 

• Minutes of the Regents of the University. 

t Notes concerning colleges and academies were received from Gideon Hawley, L.L.D, 


quities, callisthenics, chemistry, composition, conic sections, criticism, drawing, 
embroidery, ecclesiastical history, the French language, geography, geology, his- 
tory, logic, music, mechanics, mineralogy, natural history, natural philosophy, 
moral and intellectual philosophy, painting, rhetoric and technology. 

For the impulse which the public mind has received in favor of female educa- 
tion, it is only just to acknowledge obligations to Mrs. Emma Willard of Troy, 
the founder of the first successful institution on a scale commensurate with the 
imjiortance of the object; and to James Kent, John N. Campbell and their asso- 
ciates, the founders and patrons of a similar institution at the capital.* It is also 
due to the conductors and patrons of the female academies, to acknowledge, that 
\vith far less pretension and more limited public aid than our colleges, they are 
successful in maintaining a high standard of pure education ; and that their pupils 
exhibit proficiency and acquirements comparing favorably with the best results of 
collegiate education. The female academies have very careful public examina- 
tions and annual celebrations, in which essays written by pupils are read by per- 
sons appointed for that purpose, and medals and other testimonials of merit are 
awarded. The benign influences of these institutions are already observable in 
the more frequent employment of women as instructors of youth, in the increasing 
respect which the sex receives, and in the greater refinement of society. 

The tendency, however, of a jioj^ular government, is to favor rather the 
diffusion of general knowledge, and that which is immediately useful, than the 
advancement of pure science, and the cultivation of liberal and ornamental arts. 

In a community where each individual shares the responsibilities of govern- 
ment, there is an obvious necessity for univei'sal education. This jjrinciple may 
be discerned in the earliest legislation at the close of the revolution. In 1789, 
two lots were set apart in each township of public lands, to constitute a local 
fund for the support of religious instruction and popular education. The regents 
of the university, in 1793, submitted to the legislature the importance of " insti- 

• Notes concerning female education were furnished by A. Crittenton, Principal of the Albany Female Academy. 


tuting schools for the purpose of instructing children in the lower branches of edu- 
cation." The recommendation was renewed in 1795, with the sanction of George 
Clinton, then governor. The legislature in the same year appropriated twenty 
thousand pounds ($50,000) annually for five years, out of the public revenue, to 
encourage and maintain, in the several cities and towns, schools, in which the 
children of the inhabitants residing in the state should " be instructed in the 
English language, or he taught English grammar, arithmetic, mathematics, and 
such other branches of knowledge as are most useful and necessary to complete 
a good English education." The Ijoards of supervisors were required to raise 
by tax in each town, a sum equal to one-half of its proportion of the moneys 
appropriated by the state ; and commissioners and trustees were directed to be 
appointed, and required to make annual reports to the secretary of state. 

The returns made in 1798, showed that 1,352 schools had been established, 
and 59,660 children had been instructed therein in sixteen of the twenty-three 
counties into which the state was then divided. Mr. Comstock, a representative 
from Saratoga in the assembly of 1800, made an unsuccessful motion that the 
then expiring law of 1795 should be continued. The law therefore was suffered 
to expire ; and notwithstanding the earnest and repeated representations of gover- 
nor Clinton, the legislature omitted to adopt any measure for the reestablishraent 
of common schools until 1805, when a law was passed, declaring that the nett 
proceeds of five hundred thousand acres of public lands should be devoted to the 
creation of a permanent fund fin- the support of common schools. The act 
directed that the lands should be sold, and the moneys derived therefrom loaned 
and suffered to accumulate, until the interest arising thereon should amount to 
fifty thousand dollars annually ; after which period, the annual interest should be 
distributed for the support of common schools. The measure received important 
aid from the recommendation of Morgan Lewis, who then filled the executive 
chair. The fund thus established produced an income in 1810 of twenty-six 
thousand dollars ; and Daniel D. Tompkins, then governor, in two successive 
annual speeches, urged the importance of an immediate organization of the cona- 


men schools. A law was passed in 1811, authorizing the governor to appoint 
commissioners to devise a system for that purpose. Jedediah Peck, John Murray 
junior, Samuel Russell, Roger Skinner and Robert Macomb were appointed such 
commissioners; and in 1812, they submitted to the legislature a report, which 
was adopted, and is the basis of the existing system of common schools. 

The fund was increased in 1819, by various appropriations, which raised its 
productive capital to about $1,200,000. The new constitution, adopted in 1821, 
not only declared the school fund to be inviolable, and guaranteed its perpetual 
application, but added to it all the unappropriated public lands. Forty thousand 
dollars were added to the fund in 1824 ; and in 1827, other appropriations were 
made to the amount of about $180,000.* In 1838, an annual apjiropriation of 
$110,000 was added to the income of the fund, and the principal was also con- 
siderably augmented. The invested and productive capital of that fund is now 
$2,036,625. The sum annually distributed from the state treasury in support 
of common schools, is $261,000. Adding to the jirincipal the unsold lands, 
valued at $200,000 and principal moneys sufficient to yield an interest equal 
to the amount annually appropriated from the treasury, beyond the income of the 
invested and productive capital, the entire capital would be $5,820,000. The 
whole capital permanently invested for the support of education in colleges, acade- 
mies and common schools, including all endowments, contributions from the trea- 
sury, and moneys derived from taxation in the school districts, is $10,500,000.1 

The chief features of the common school system, are the annual election of 
commissioners of common schools by the peo})le in the several towns ; the divi- 
sion of towns by the school commissioners, into school districts ; the election of 
trustees in such school districts, by the inhabitants thereof; the erection and 
maintenance of a school house in each district, with funds derived from the tax 
levied upon the inhabitants by tlie trustees, in pursuance of a resolution passed 
at an annual meeting of the inhabitants ; the employment of teachers whose qua- 

• Report of A. C. Flagg, superintendent of common schools. 


lifications are approved by inspectors elected by the people ; a contribution by 
means of taxation in eacli school district, of a suni equal to that apportioned to 
the district out of the public funds ; the supplying of any deficiency in the funds 
necessary for the support of the schools, by the charging of tuition fees upon 
such parents and guardians as are of sufficient ability ; the exemption of the poor 
from all charges for tuition fees ; the maintenance of a school in each district, not 
less than four months in each year ; the visitation and examination of schools by 
the inspectors, and by a deputy superintendent of common schools for the county, 
the latter officer being appointed Ijy the supervisors ; and a supervision and care 
of the entire school system of the state, l)y the secretary of state, who is superin- 
tendent of common schools, and to whom annual reports of the condition, progress 
and statistics of each school district are made by the trustees thereof; the main- 
tenance of schools wherever necessary for the education of children of African 
descent ; the maintenance of normal schools in the most flourishing academical 
institutions, for the instruction of teachers of jjoth sexes ; the publication and dis- 
tribution to each school of a periodical journal, exclusively devoted to the cause 
of education and not of a sectarian or party character, and in which are jaublished 
the laws of the state, the regulations established by the superintendent, and his 
decisions upon questions affecting the organization, administration and govern- 
ment of the schools ; and a comprehensive annual report to the legislature by the 
superintendent, of the condition of the schools throughout the state.* 

The whole number of school districts in the state is 10,886, in which schools 
are maintained during an average period of eight months in each year. The 
number of children instructed is 603,583. The whole amount of money expended 
for the payment of wages of teachers is $1,043,000 ; of which $560,000 are public 
money, and the remainder is contributed by individuals.! 

It is apparent that the efficiency of the public school system must depend 
in a great measure upon the ability, zeal, and efficiency of the superintendent of 

• Laws of New-York, 1841. t Annual report of S. S. Randall, deputy superintendent of common schools, 1842. 


common schools. That office was filled in 1813 by the appointment of Gideon 
Hawley, who gave place in 1821 to Welcome Esleeck. Mr. Esleeck held the 
office only a few months ; it then devolved upon John Van Ness Yates, who 
retired in 1826, when Azariah C. Flagg succeeded to that trust, and retained the 
same until 1833. Mr. Flagg was succeeded by John A. Dlx, who gave place in 
1839 to John C. Spencer. Mr. Spencer retired in 1842, and the place is now 
filled by Samuel Young. To Gideon Hawley is justly ascribed the merit of 
organizing the system, and bringing it into successful operation ; to John Van 
Ness Yates, that of an assiduous and enlightened administration ; to John A. Dix, 
that of codifying and interpreting upon fixed and enlightened principles the vast 
body of school laws ; and to Azariah C. Flagg and John C. Spencer, high praise 
is awarded for earnest and well-directed eiforts to remove obstacles which pre- 
vented the system from becoming such as its founders originally proposed it 
should be ; an uniform plan of universal education, as well as in the cities in 
the country. The latter gentleman, during his occupancy of the office, induced 
the legislature to revise the entire system, and increase its efficiency and useful- 
ness by important amendments and improvements, and especially by those which 
secure more eflectual visitation of the common schools by the appointment of 
local superintendents. The enlightened efforts of George Clinton, of Lewis and 
of Tompkins, have been already acknowledged. Nor was less zeal exhibited by 
De Witt Clinton and William L. Marcy, successors in the executive office. 
To William A. Duer the system is much indebted, for his successful efforts in 
inducing the legislature to make the support of schools by the people, with public 
aid, compulsory. 

The maintenance of school district libraries may now be regarded as a cardinal 
feature of the system of primary education ; an improvement which, if not sug- 
gested, was brought into j^ublic favor through the patriotic efforts of James 
Wadsworth of Geneseo, aided and sustained by William L. Marcy, under whose 
administration this important project was carried into successful operation. 
Bountiful and widely extended as the provision for this system seems to be, the 


people of the state of New- York are scarcely enjoj'ing its first fruits. When it 
is remembered that knowledge exerts a self-expanding and self-regenerating 
power, and that the relations not only among the several American communities, 
but between all regions of the earth, are becoming more and more intimate, it is 
perhaps not presumptuous to suppose that the ripened fruits of the plan are to be 
developed in the intellectual, moral and social improvement of the whole human 

The first notice of a library which we meet, bears date an hundred and four- 
teen years ago ; when an association in England, called the " Society for the Pro- 
pagation of the Gospel," transmitted to Richard Montgomerie, governor of the 
province, a thousand volumes, a gift from Dr. Millington, rector of Newington.f 
The society informed the governor, that the books were intended as a library for 
the use of the clergy and gentlemen of New- York, Connecticut, New-Jersey and 
Pennsylvania ; and requested that the assembly would provide a depository. The 
subject was referred to the corporation of the city of New- York, who assigned an 
apartment in the city hall. In 1754, the sum of six hundred pounds was sub- 
scribed by an association in the city of New- York, and expended in the purchase 
of seven hundred volumes of " new and well chosen books." The society was 
incorporated in that year ; and it was expected that its collection, containing the 
two libraries which have been mentioned, would, by further contributions, " be- 
come vastly rich and voluminous." The society still exists, and its library, now 
amounting to forty thousand volumes, proves that the expectations of its founders 
have been fully realized. Notwithstanding, however, the advantages thus enjoyed 
by the citizens of the embryo metropolis, the historian, in 1762, gave this unfa- 
vorable account of the intellectual condition of the colonists ; " Their schools are 
in the lowest orders ; the instructors want instruction ; and through a long 
shameful neglect of all the arts and sciences, the common speech is extremely 

• Notes ooncerning common schools were received from Gideon Hawley, L.L.D., and Samuel S. Randall, Esq. the 
deputy general superintendent, 
t American Gazetteer, 17G3. 


corrupt, and the evidences of a bad taste, both as to thought and language, are 
visible in their proceedings pubUc and private. There is nothing the ladies so 
generally neglect as reading, and indeed all the arts for the improvement of the 
mind — a neglect in which the men have set the example."* 

The legislature, in 1796, passed an act by which, after reciting that a dispo- 
sition for improvement in useful knowledge had manifested itself in various parts 
of the state, and for procuring and erecting social and public libraries, and that it 
was of the utmost importance to the public that the sources of information should 
be multiplied, and institutions for that purpose encouraged and promoted, provi- 
sion was made for the incorporation of public library associations. Valuable 
libraries were established under this law in many of the principal towns ; and 
they were exempted by a subsequent act, and still remain free from taxation. 

A state library, deposited in the capitol, was commenced in J818. The law 
department therein contains 4,273 volumes ; and the scientific, literary and miscel- 
laneous division contains 4,218 volumes. The collection has been enriched by 
very munificent donations from the government of Great Britain ; and the selec- 
tion, which has hitherto been made with great care, is now continually increased 
by means of annual legislative appropriations of about three thousand dollars. 

But the most important public measure in relation to libraries, was the act be- 
fore referred to, by which the sum of $55,000 of public money was annually for 
five years devoted to the establishment of a school library in each of the eleven 
thousand school districts in the state. Each district was moreover obliged to 
raise a sum equal to that apportioned to it from the treasury ; so that the amount 
devoted to the establishment of these collections, which, as they are distributed 
so as to bring a library within the reach of every family, may be called domestic 
libraries, is $550,000. The Messrs. Harpers, publishers in New- York, acting 
in harmony with the intentions of the legislature, have already issued from their 
press two hundred volumes, constituting a series of popular works, chiefly by 

* American Gazetteer, 176S. 

Intr. 3 


native authors, on subjects in the various departments of science and Hterature, 
and especially designed for these libraries. Mr. Wadsworth, already honorably 
mentioned, continues to favor the enterprise by an annual contribution to the 
writers of such works as are approved by the superintendent of common schools. 
By a law of 1841, each academy receives from the treasury a sum of about two 
hundred and fifty dollars ; which, together with an equal amount contributed by 
the founders and patrons of the institutions, is applied to the purchase of text 
books, globes, maps and philosophical apparatus. 

During the Dutch government, no press was established ; and so late as 1686, 
Governor Dongan was instructed to allow no such establishment in the colony.* 

The great English revolution of 1688, and the accession of William and Mary, 
were hailed with enthusiasm in the colonies, and awakened in New-England and 
New- York an earnest desire to repossess the rights and franchises which had 
been wrested by the Stuarts, or tamely yielded to their rapacity. The popular 
mind did not then suspect that the despotism of absolute monarchy had only given 
place to the omnipotence of parliament. Although a press had been established 
for scientific and literary purposes at Cambridge, in Massachusetts, about the 
middle of the seventeenth century, printing was not commenced in Boston, Phi- 
ladelphia or New- York, until near the close of that century ; nor was any news- 
paper printed in the American colonies before the year 1700. Dr. Cadwallader 
Golden, often mentioned in this memoir, in a letter written in 1743 to Dr. Frank- 
lin, minutely explained an improvement he had conceived in the art of printing, 
which was identical with the stereotype process introduced into France nearly 
sixty years afterwards by Mr. Herhan, under letters patent from Napoleon. Dr. 
Golden's letter was published in Hosack and Francis' American Medical and 
Philosophical Register, in 1810. But it is only just to say, that subsequent re- 
searches have resulted in showing that a bible was printed by Gillett, with ste- 

♦ Clinton's Introductory Discourse. 


reotype plates, in Strasburgh, twenty years at least before the improvement sug- 
gested itself to Dr. Golden.* 

The first newspaper which appeared in the colony of New- York was the 
" New- York Gazette," by William Bradford, in 1725. It was the fifth then in 
existence in the American colonies ; three having already been established in 
Massachusetts, and one in Philadelphia. Bradford was said to have fled from 
Philadelphia to New- York. He had given offence by publishing a paper written 
by George Keith. Keith had been condemned by the city meeting of friends for 
a doctrine which he maintained, and appealed to the general meeting of that 
society, and published an address concerning the controversy. The address was 
denounced as seditious, and Bradford was arrested and imprisoned for printing 
it. The trial of Bradford is a curious and not an uninstructive illustration of the 
spirit of the age, and of the imperfect notions of the liberty of the press which pre- 
vailed at that day. Keith was adjudged guilty, both in the ecclesiastical and 
civil courts without a hearing ; and one of the judges having declared that the 
court could judge of the matter of fact without testimony, directed the common 
crier to " proclaim, in the market place, the accused to be a seditious person, and 
an enemy to the king and queen's government." Bradford and Macomb, an 
associate, were charged with circulating the offensive pamphlet, and demanded 
a speedy trial as a right secured by magna charta. Being members of the society 
of friends, they appeared in court covered. Justice Cooke inquired, " What 
bold, impudent and confident men are these to stand thus confidently before the 
court 1" Bradford replied, " We are here only to desire that which is the right 
of every free born English subject, which is speedy justice ; and it is strange that 
that should be accounted impudence." Justice Cooke answered, " If thou hadst 
been in England, thou would have had thy back lashed before now." The pri- 
soners continued to press for a trial. Justice Cooke replied, " A trial thou shall 
have, and that to your cost, it may be." When the trial came on, Bradford asked 

» HiNTON. 


that he might have a copy of the presentment, and be informed under what law 
he was prosecuted ; but these requests were denied. During the trial, " the grand 
jury sat by the prisoners overawing and threatening them, when they spoke boldly 
in their own defence, and one of the grand jurors wrote down such words as they 
disliked, signifying that they would present them. Justice Cooke bade the grand 
jurors take notice of such and such words." When the prisoner's counsel began to 
say something in regard to the matter, the court directed an officer to take him 
away. The attorney for the prosecution concluded by saying, " It was evident 
William Bradford printed the seditious paper, he being the printer in this place, 
and the frame on which it was printed was found in his house." Bradford then 
said, " I desire the jury and all present to take notice, that there ought to be two 
evidences to prove the matter of fact, but not one evidence had been brought in 
this case." Justice Jennings answered, "the frame on which it was j^rinted is 
evidence enough." Bradford replied, " But where is the frame 1 There has no 
frame been produced here ; and if there had, it is no evidence unless you saw 
me print on it." To which justice Jennings answered, " The jury shall have the 
frame with them ; it cannot well be brought here ; and besides the season is cold, 
and we are not to sit here to endanger our health." The jury, however, after 
remaining out sixty hours, resisted all the efforts of the court, disagi-eed, and were 
discharged. Soon after this trial, Bradford having in some manner obtained a 
release, appeared in New- York. The sedition of the j^ublication consisted in the 
inquiry, whether the Friends, in sending out armed commissions against piracy, 
did not transcend the requirements of their religious profession. 

Thus the foundation of the press in New- York may be said to have been laid 
in the maintenance or assertion of its primary rights and liberties. On arriving 
at New- York, Bradford became printer to the government, which station he held 
for many years ; and such is the infirmity of our nature, that at a later period, when 
the only rival press in the colony had assumed an attitude opposed to the local 
government, and was sought to be crushed by prosecution and imprisonment, he 
was found on the side of power and privilege, and against the enfranchisements 


of speech for which he had contended forty years before. Bradford estabHshed the 
first paper mill in New-Jersey, and the first perhaps in America. He was about 
seventy years old when he began the publication of the Gazette, and continued in 
the active duties of the pajaer for sixteen or seventeen years. The Gazette was con- 
tinued after 1742, with the additional title of the " Weekly Post Boy" until 1773. 
John Peter Zenger established in 1733 the "New- York Weekly Journal," the 
second newspaper in the colony. It opposed the administration of governor 
Cosby, and supported the interest of Rip Van Dam, who had previously con- 
ducted the administration. Zenger maintained an effective batterv. " The 
ballads, serious charges, and, above all, the home truths in his democratic Journal, 
irritated Cosby and his council to madness." Zenger was confined several months 
by order of the governor and council, for printing and publishing seditious libels; 
treated with unwarrantable severity; deprived of pen, ink and paper, and denied 
the visits of his friends. The popular feeling, however, was strongly against 
these proceedings. The assembly, notvdthstanding the application of the gover- 
nor, refused to concur with him and his council. The mayor and the magistrates 
also refused to obey the mandate of the governor and council, and to attend the 
burning of the libellous papers " by the common hangman and whipper, near the 
pillory." The grand jury manifested equal contumacy, and ignored the present- 
ment against Zenger. The attorney-general was then directed to file an infor- 
mation. The judges refused to hear and allow the exceptions taken by Zentrer's 
counsel, and excluded them from the bar ; but he was ably defended by other 
counsel, and especially by Andrew Hamilton, then a barrister of Philadelphia. 
Zenger pleaded not guilty. His counsel admitted the printing and publishing of 
the papers, and offered to give their truth in evidence. The counsel for the 
prosecution then said, " The jury must find a verdict for the king," and gave the 
usual definition of a libel ; asserting that, " whether the person defamed was a 
private man or magistrate, whether living or dead, whether the libel was true or 
false, or whether the party against whom it was made was of good or evil fame, 
it was nevertheless a libel." He then quoted from the Acts of the Apostles, and 



from one of the epistles of Peter, to show that it was a very great offence to 
speak evil of dignities ; " and insisted upon the criminality by the " laws of God 
and man, of revihng those in authority, and consequently that Mr. Zenger had 
offended in a most notorious and gross manner, in scandalizing his excellency our 
governor, who, said the counsel, is the king's immediate representative and su- 
preme magistrate of this j^rovince." Mr. Hamilton remarked in his reply, that 
we are charged with printing and publishing a certain false, malicious, seditious 
and scandalous libel. The word false must have some meaning, or else how 
came it there ; and he put the case, whether if the information had been for 
printing a certain true libel, would that be the same thing ? " And to show the 
court that I am in good earnest," said he, " I will agree, that if he can prove the 
facts charged upon us to he false, I will own them to be scandalous, seditious and a 
libel." He then further offered, that to save the prosecution the trouble of prov- 
ing the papers to be false, the defendant would prove them to be true. To this, 
chief justice De Lancey objected, " You cannot be admitted to give the truth of 
a libel in evidence ; the law is clear that you cannot justify a libel." Mr. Hamilton 
maintained, that leaving the court to determine whether the words were libellous 
or not, rendered juries useless or worse. " It was true," he said, " in times past, 
it was a ci'ime to speak truth, and in that terrible court of star-chamber many 
worthy and brave men suffered for so doing ; and yet even in that court, and in 
those bad times, a great and good man durst say, what I hope will not be taken 
amiss in me to say in this place, to wit, ' The practice of information for libels 
is a sword in the hands of a wicked king and an arrant coward, to cut down and 
destroy the innocent. The one cannot, because of his high station, and the other 
dare not, because of his want of courage, defend himself in another manner.' " * 
The jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of not guilty, to the great 
mortification of the court and of Zenger's persecutors, but with great satisfaction 

* Nearly 70 years afterwards, another Hamilton maintained this great and now undeniable principle with eloquence 
.-ind power, which may be said to have conquered at last this great concession to the liberty of the press. 


to the people. The common council of the city conferred upon Mr. Hamilton the 
public thanks and the freedom of the corporation, for that signal service which 
he cheerfully undertook under great indisposition of body, and generously per- 
formed, refusing either fee or reward.* 

Such was the struggle which the press had to maintain only one hundred years 
ago, and only forty years before the revolution gave to its freedom the sanction 
of government and the impress of authority. Gouverneur Morris, in speaking of 
these occurrences to Dr. Francis, remarked, " that the trial of Zenger was the 
germ of American freedom, the morning star of that liberty which subsequently 
revolutionized America." Zenger died in 1746. His newspaper was conducted 
by his widow, and afterwards by his son, until 1752, when it was discontinued. 
The " New- York Gazette and Weekly Post Boy " was revived by James Parker 
in 1742, and was continued by successive proprietors until 1773. It was ably 
conducted, and had an extensive circulation ; and though free, never transcended 
the bounds of decorum as they were defined at that day. The paper combated 
the stamp act, and with several contemporaries throughout the colonies, appeared 
in mourning on the 21st of October, 1765, on account of the passage of that law. 
The "New- York Evening Post" appeared in 1746, but was soon discontinued. 
The New- York Mercury was commenced by Hugh Gaine, and was discontinued 
at the close of the revolutionary war, after an existence of thirty-one years under 
the patronage of its founder. William Wyman, in 1759, established the " New- 
York Gazette," which, after a fitful existence, expired in 1767. The American 
Chronicle was commenced by S. Farley in 1761, and discontinued the next year ; 
and the "New- York Packet," begun in 1763, had only a brief existence. In 
1766, John Holt issued " The New- York Journal and General Advertiser;" and 
in 1768, " The New- York Chronicle " was commenced by Alexander and James 
Robinson, and continued until 1772, when the printers removed to Albany, and 
established there " The Albany Post Boy," which continued until 1776. James 

» DuNLAp's History of New- York. 


Rivington, in 1773, commenced his newspaper career with a large and handsome 
sheet bearing the comprehensive title of " Rivington's New- York Gazeteer, or the 
Connecticut, New-Jersey, Hudson's River and Quebec Weekly Advertiser ;" and 
in January, 1776, the publication of the New- York Packet and American Adver- 
tiser was begun by Samuel Loudon. 

At the advent of the revolution, therefore, there were only four newspapers in 
existence in the colony, to wit, Gaine's Mercury, Holt's Journal and Advertiser, 
Rivington's Gazeteer, and Loudon's Packet ; and as these reflect the spirit of that 
epoch, and are characteristic of the phases of the mighty struggle, a few facts in 
relation to them may not be thought devoid of interest. Gaine, who was a native 
of Ireland, continued to print and sell books in Hanover square until his death 
in 1807, a period of nearly sixty years. Exact, punctual and industrious, he ac- 
quired a large estate, and transmitted a reputation for personal honesty, thrift and 
tact, not often disturbed by excessive aspirations of patriotism. Approacliing the 
revolution, he was ostensibly neutral ; but with a desire to keep the strongest side, 
he alternately printed for the people and for the loyal authorities, as each seemed 
to preponderate. Although he removed with his press to New-Jersey on the ap- 
proach of the British army, he returned when they had gained possession of the 
city ; and emboldened by their successes, pursued the natural impulses of his 
mind, and gave to the royal cause the best efforts of his pen and press. His 
request to be allowed ^ to remain in the city after its eracuation by the British 
army was granted ; but his traits of character were happily hit off in a poem 
which appeared on the 1st of January, 1783, professing to be the humble petition 
of Gaine to remain in the city, in which his early profession and attachment to 
the cause of the country, his subsequent adhesion to the royal cause, and his final 
appeal were humorously and satirically described. It concluded, 

•'As matters have gone, it was plainly a blunder, 
But then I expected the whigs must knock under, 
And I always adhere to the sword that is longest, 
And stick to the party that's like to be strongest." 

The Mercury, of course, did not survive the revolution 


Rivington was an English bookseller, a man of the world and of good talents, 
who established his business in New- York in 1761, and in 1773 commenced the 
publication of the Gazette on a large medium sheet folio. The paper surpassed 
its contemporaries in entei'pi'ise, and in its original essays and its various intelli- 
gence ; and soon came to be extensively patronized in all the principal towns. 
But when the king's arms were substituted for the early vignette, and the descrip- 
tive words in the title, " ever open and uninfluenced," were erased, and the paper 
gave unequivocal demonstrations of hostility to the popular cause, a body of armed 
men from Connecticut, in November, 1775, entered the city on horseback, beset 
the printer's habitation, destroyed his press, and threw his types into heaps or con- 
verted them into bullets. Two years afterwards, he returned from England with 
ne^v materials, and renewed his paper, which now appeared twice a week on a 
sheet of royal size, surmounted with the royal arms, and entitled " The Royal 
Gazette, published by James Rivington, printer to the king's most excellent ma- 
jesty." This paper was conducted with exceeding virulence against the " rebels." 
It was the leading royal press in the colonies, issued from the chief seat of British 
power, and attained precedence as the acknowledged official organ, and neces- 
sarily became very obnoxious to the prevailing party. At length foreseeing the 
result, Rivington sought to conciliate the whigs, and succeeded so far as to ensure 
the toleration of his residence in the city ; but his paper, although it discarded 
the emblems and appendages of royalty, expired in 1783. The wits and satirists 
of the revolutionary press conferred an unenviable immortality upon its editor. 

But there are more grateful aspects in the history of the republican press 

devoted to the cause of the country. The New- York Journal and Advertiser, 

published by Holt and Parker, bore a conspicuous part in the discussions and 

agitations of the day, animating the people in their resistance to tyranny, and 

preparing them for the trials and sufferings of the great struggle. At the 

memorable period of the stamp act, Holt, who then conducted the paper, added 

to its title the significant motto, " the united voice of all his majesty's free and 

loyal subjects in America, liberty, property, and no stamps." In 1774 Holt dis- 
Intr. 4 


carded from the Journal the cut of the king's arms, and substituted in its stead 
the device of a snake severed into parts, with the motto " unite or die."* If 
Rivino-ton suffered at the hands of the exasperated colonists, Holt was visited 
with the royal vengeance in forms scarcely less destructive. On the approach 
of the British army in 1776, he was obliged to quit the city and leave his pro- 
perty to be destroyed by the enemy. After a short interval, the Journal reap- 
peared in Kingston. Driven thence by the capture and destruction of that place 
in the same year, Holt continued the paper at Poughkeepsie until the termination 
of the war, when he returned to New- York. He died in 1784. His paper, 
continued by his widow and descendants several years, at length passed into the 
hands of Thomas Greenleaf. 

Early in the present century, the well known "American Citizen," edited 
with distinguished ability by James Cheetham, appeared. The New- York 
Packet, by Samuel Loudon, a native of Ireland, was a spirited auxiliary of the 
popular cause. That Journal was pubhshed at Fishkill while the city of New- 
York was in possession of the enemy. 

During the same period, Robertson & Co. of the Royal American Gazette, 
and Lewis of the New- York Mercury and General Advertiser, made such an 
arrangement with the publishers of the other papers as to form a daily publica- 
tion. But these newspapers were all discontinued at the peace of 1783. There 
were, therefore, at the close of the revolutionary war, nearly one hundred and 
fifty years after the introduction of printing in Massachusetts, and nearly a cen- 
tury after its establishment in Pennsylvania, only three newspaper publications 
in the state of New- York. These were Holt's and Loudon's, then respectively 
published at Poughkeepsie and Fishkill, and the New- York Gazetteer, which 
was commenced in Albany in May, 1782, by Valentine & Webster, and wa* 
succeeded two years afterwards by the Albany Gazette, published by Charles 
R. Webster, and has been continued by him and Websters & Skinners until the 

• Thoma.s' History of Printing. 


present date, 1842. Thirty-nine newspapers were printed at the commence- 
ment of the revolution in all the American colonies. 

The earlier newspaper press was extremely circumscribed in its scope and 
powers. A newspaper rarely exceeded in size half a sheet of foolscap. It was 
a mere compilation, often crude enough, with " the freshest advices foreign and 
domestic." How " fresh," the reader, in this day of railroads, steam packets, 
and second and third daily editions, will learn not without amusement, from the 
fact that sixteen years after a newspaper was established in Boston it proposed 
to issue a half sheet every other week ; by which hazardous enterprise it was 
hoped that the time between the paper and the latest European news, then 
thirteen months, might be reduced to five. For many years the " Boston News 
Letter" contained no more than two advertisements. Until the close of the re- 
volution, no newspaper was issued oftener than once a week ; but with the pro- 
gress of political events, the press assumed a higher position, and put forth greater 
energies. It was yet restricted, its rights scarcely understood, its power not ap- 
preciated, and its freedom curtailed by judicial decisions ; nevertheless, it was 
advancing in character and importance. The trial of Zenger, the passage of the 
stamp act, the claim of parliamentary right to tax the colonies without represen- 
tation and wdthout consent, and the resistance to those claims on great principles, 
called forth the patriotism of the colonists ; and the press, having then become 
the organ of an indomitable spirit of freedom, assumed a more elevated tone, and 
exerted a powerful influence in carrying the cause of the revolution to its tri- 
umphant consummation. 

So rapid was the increase of newspapers, that in 1810 the number of such 
publications in the United States amounted to three hundred and fifty-nine, of 
which sixty-six were printed in this state. These journals, like those published 
during the revolution, with rare exceptions, were controversial, and of a political 
and partizan character. The ability displayed in their columns exceeded that 
which the press exhibited during the revolution, in a proportion equal to the 
sphere to be supplied ; but the public taste had not yet become sufficiently refined 


to reject invective, and to choose always facts and arguments in preference to 
scandal and recrimination. One or more newspapers were then published in the 
capital of each county, and their names will recal quite vivid recollections of 
the civil and pohtical divisions of the state, as they then existed. 

In the city of New- York there were seven daily newspapers : The New- York 
Gazette and General Advertiser by Lang & Turner, the New- York Evening 
Post by WilUam Coleman, the Commercial Advertiser by Zachariah Lewis, all 
of which supported the federalist party ; the Public Advertiser and the Colum- 
bian edited by Charles Holt, devoted to the republican party ; and the American 
Citizen by James Cheetham, and the Mercantile Advertiser, which were neutral 
as to politics. There were also published in the city one semi-weekly and five 
weekly papers ; these were the New- York Herald, the Spectator, the Republi- 
can Watchtower, the New-York Journal, the Columbian for the country, and 
the Price Current. In the city of Albany there were three semi-weekly news- 
papers : The Albany Gazette by Websters & Skinners, the Balance and New- 
York State Journal by Croswell & Frary, engaged in defending the policy of 
the federalists ; and the Albany Register by Solomon Southwick, maintaining the 
republican cause. All the other newspapers in the state were published weekly, 
and were as follows : At Sag-Harbor, the Suffolk Gazette, a republican paper by 
Alden Spooner; at Brooklyn, the Long-Island Star, of the same politics, by 
Thomas Kirk ; at Saratoga, the Saratoga Gazette ; at Watertown, the American 
Eagle, by Henry Coffeen ; at Peekskill, the Westchester Gazette, a republican 
paper by Robert Cromble ; at Somers, the Somers Museum, a federal journal by 
Milton F. Gushing ; at Goshen, the Orange County Gazette, a repubUcan paper 
by Hopkins & Heron, and the Spirit of Seventy-six and Patriot, by Timothy B. 
Crowell ; at Newburgh, the Political Index, a republican paper by Ward M. Gas- 
lay ; at Kingston, the Ulster Gazette, a federal paper by Samuel S. Freer, and 
the Plebeian, a republican journal by Jesse Buel ; at Poughkeepsie, the Political 
Barometer, republican, by Joseph Nelson, and the Poughkeepsie Journal, federal, 
by Paraclete Potter ; at Hudson, the Northern Whig, federal, by Francis Steb- 


bins, and the Bee, republican, by H. Holland ; at Catskill, the American Eagle, 
federal, by M. Elliot & Co., and the Catskill Recorder, republican, by Macky 
Croswell; at Lansingburgh, the Lansingburgh Gazette, by Tracy & Bliss; 
at Troy, the Troy Gazette, a federal paper by Eldad Lewis, also the Farmers' 
Register, a repubHcan paper by Francis Adancourt, and the Northern Budget, 
neutral, by Oliver Lyon ; at Salem, the Northern Post, federal, by Dodd So Rum- 
sey, and the Washington Register, republican, by John P. Reynolds ; at Platts- 
burgh, the American Monitor, republican, by George W. Nichols ; at Waterford, 
the Waterford Gazette, by Horace H. Wadsworth ; at Ballston, the Advertiser, 
republican, by Samuel R. Brown, and the Independent American, federal, by 
William Childs; at Schenectady, the Mohawk Advertiser, federal, by Ryer 
Schermerhorn, and the Schenectady Cabinet, republican, by Isaac Riggs ; at Johns- 
town, the Montgomery Republican, federal, by Asahel Child, and the Montgomery 
Monitor, republican, by Daniel C. Miller ; at Herkimer, the Bunkerhill, republi- 
can, by George Gordon Phinney, and the American, federal, by J. H. & H. 
Prentiss ; at Utica, the Utica Patriot, federal, by Ira Merrell, and the Columbia 
Gazette, republican, by Thomas Walker ; at Oxford, the Chenango Patriot ; at 
Cazenovia, the Pilot, republican, by Baker & Newton ; at Peterborough, the 
Freeholder, federal, by Jonathan Bunce & Co. ; at Manlius, the Manlius Times, 
federal, by Leonard Kellogg; at Canandaigua, the Ontario Repository, federal, 
by James D. Bemis, and the Genesee Messenger, republican, by John A. Stevens ; 
at Batavia, the Cornucopia, republican, by Peck & Blodget ; at Geneva, the 
Geneva Gazette, federal, by James Bogart ; at Cooj^erstown, the Otsego Herald, 
republican, by Elihu Phinney, and the Cooperstown Federalist, federal, by J. H. 
& H. Prentiss ; at Owego, the American Farmer, neutral, by Stephen Mack ; 
at Schoharie, the True American, federal, by Thomas M. Tilden, and the Ame- 
rican Herald, republican, by Derrick Van Veghten ; at Sherburne, the Republi- 
can Messenger, republican, by Pettit & Percival.* Papers published at Troy, 

* Thomas' History of Printinnr. 


which is nearly equidistant from the northern and southern boundaries of the 
state, were then organs of the north ; and there were four newspapers printed in 
the region west of Onondaga, where now more are pubhshed than in 1810 
supphed the whole state. 

The number of newspapers now published within this state is upwards of 
three hundred, being an hundred times more than were printed in the state at 
the close of the revolution, and eight times the number printed in the United 
States at that period. The more important publications are, in the city of New- 
York, the Courier and Enquirer, by James Watson Webb ; the Journal of Com- 
merce, by Hale and Halleck ; the New- York Express, by Brooks and Town- 
send ; the Standard, by John I. Mumford ; and the New-Era, by Jared W. Bell ; 
morning papers : the Commercial Advertiser, by William L. Stone ; the Even- 
ing Post, by William C. Biyant; and the American, by Charles King; evening 
papers, published upon the old system for regular subscribers : the New- York 
Tribune, by Horace Greely ; the Sun, by Moses Y. Beach ; and the Plebeian, 
by Levi D. Slamm, published upon the new plan of selling indiscriminately for 
cash : in the city of Albany, the Albany Daily Advertiser, formerly the Albany- 
Gazette ; the Albany Argus, by Edwin Croswell ; and the Albany Evening 
Journal, by Thurlow Weed : in the city of Troy, the Troy Daily Whig and 
Troy Budoret : in the city of Utica, the Oneida Observer and the Oneida Whig : 
in the city of Rochester, the Rochester Democrat and Rochester Daily Adver- 
tiser ; and in the city of Buffalo, the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser and the 
Mercantile Courier. 

There is scarcely more resemblance between the press as it now exists, and 
that institution as it was at the close of the revolution, than between the present 
aspect of our inland regions and the forest garb they wore while inhabited only 
by the Iroquois. Then the art, employed chiefly in printing the colonial statutes, 
almanacks, occasional sermons, and volumes of devotional psalmody, and publish- 
ing a semi-weekly record of events, was only auxiliary, in the hands of its 
managers, to the more important object of selling books, pamphlets, stationery, 


and sometimes other merchandise : Now, labor-saving machines, with mechanical 
and brute power, are substituted for the arm of the pressman ; and with the aid of 
stereotype foundries, the press has departments distinctly separated, and as 
numerous as the divisions and subdivisions, classes, combinations, interests, occu- 
pations, studies and tastes of society. The book press seizes with avidity all new 
publications, whether designed to instruct or only to amuse, whether foreign or 
domestic, and prints and reprints and scatters them over the continent with in- 
conceivable rapidity. Works of fiction most adapted to the popular taste are 
now printed and sold at prices less than, fifty years ago, were charged to subscri- 
bers for the perusal of such volumes by circulating libraries. The commercial 
press, morning and evening, records with accuracy every occurrence and every 
indication which affects trade ; and the advertising columns are indispensable 
auxiliaries in every operation of commerce or finance. The political press, 
divided between contending parties, and again subdivided with nice adaptation 
to the tempers and the tastes, the passions and the prejudices of the community, 
conducts party warfare with energy, zeal and unsparing severity ; and the com- 
batants, faithful throughout all changes, abide the trials and share the fortunes of 
their respective parties. The religious press furnishes to Jew and Christian, 
Protestant and Catholic, and to each of the sects and denominations of those grand 
divisions of the church, a devoted organ more effective than an army of mis- 
sionaries. The moral, the scientific, the literary, the legal, the medical, the agri- 
cultural, the military, the abolition, the temperance, the colonization and the 
association newspapers each represent a portion of society desirous to inculcate 
peculiar \aews of truth, and promote reforms which it deems essential to the 
general welfare. The emigrants from every foreign country communicate with 
each other through organs furnished by the press, and preserve mutual sympa- 
thies and endearing recollections of their father-lands. The press wo* dependent 
on European facts, sentiments, opinions, tastes and customs : now it is in all things 
independent, and purely American. It was metropolitan : now it is universal. 
The newspaper in each important town conveys intelligence of all interesting 


incidents which occur within its vicinity, to the central press, and receives in return 
and diffuses information gathered from all portions of the world. 

The press studies carefully the conditions of all classes, and yields its reports 
with such a nice adaptation of prices as to leave no portion of the community 
without information concerning all that can engage their curiosity or concern 
their welfare. It no longer fears the odious information, or the frowns of power ; 
but dictates with boldness to the government, and combines and not unfrequently 
forms the public opinion which controls every thing. Yet the press is not despotic. 
Its divisions distract its purposes, and prevent a concentration of its powers upon 
any one object. That the newspaper press is capricious and often licentious, 
will scarcely be denied ; yet if it assails, it arms the party assaulted with equal 
weapons of defence, and yields redress for the injuries it inflicts. The ability, 
learning and spirit with which the press is now conducted, strikingly contrast 
with the dullness and sujaerficial learning of its earlier period. Its editors, no 
longer regarded as mere chroniclers of events or pains-taking mechanics, hold 
rank as a liberal profession, and exert a just influence upon the multifarious inte- 
rests of society. Nor are the sweeping allegations of indecorum, venality and 
violence brought against the press in any sense just. That it sometimes offends 
propriety, decency and candor, is unhappily too true, but it reflects in all things 
the character of the country ; and while the ignorant, the prejudiced, the malevo- 
lent and the vulgar cannot be deprived of its weapons, it never withholds its resist- 
less influence from truth, wisdom, justice and virtue. Every improvement of the 
public morals and every advance of the people in knowledge is marked by a cor- 
responding elevation of the moral and intellectual standard of the press ; and 
it is at once the chief agent of intellectual improvement, and the palladium of 
civil and religious liberty.* 

There were in New- York in 1762, two Dutch Reformed Churches, and reli- 
gious worship was celebrated therein in the language of the Netherlands. These 

» Notes on the Hietory of the Press until the close of the Revolution, were received from Edwin Croswell, Esq. 


and all other associations of that denomination acknowledged subordination to 
the classis of Amsterdam, which some times permitted, and other times refused 
powers of ordination. The expenses attending the journeys of candidates for 
ordination to Holland, and the reference of disputes concerning doctrine and 
discipline, to foreign judicatories, induced a portion of the clergy, even at that 
day, to seek a domestic organization. There were also two Protestant Episcopal 
churches which were more independent ; but still the bishop was obliged to go to 
England for orders, before he could exercise his ecclesiastical functions ; and 
rectors were required to be instituted and inducted, agreeably to the king's instruc- 
tions to the governor, and the canonical rights of the bishop of London. The 
presbyterians had one church, and aimed at ecclesiastical independence, but all 
such efforts were defeated by the opposition of the episcopaliaias ; and to save 
their little edifice and grounds, the former conveyed the glebe in 1730 to the 
moderator of the general assembly of the church of Scotland and others, as a 
committee of that body, and received from it a declaration that " the property 
was held on condition that it should be free and lawful for the presbyterians in 
the city of New- York and its vicinity to convene in the edifice for the worship of 
God in all the parts thereof, and for the dispensation of all the gospel ordinances." 
Besides these churches, there were a small French church, two German Lutheran 
societies, a Friends', a Moravian and Anabaptist meeting houses, and an obscure 
synagogue. But the dependence of the church had one advantage. Many of the 
clergy had received a transatlantic education, while this country was destitute of 
proper seminaries, and the reproach of ignorance did not attach to the theological 

One of the most serious obstacles in the way of the revolutionary cause, was 
found in the apprehensions indulged by persons connected with the English esta- 
blished church, that religion, here deprived of the sustaining support of the mother 
country, must languish, and infidelity and vice disappoint the hopes of those who 

• American Gazetteer, 1762. 

Intr. S 


had disseminated the principles of civil liberty. Experience has shown that this 
was a capital error, and that independence has been even more beneficial to the 
necessary diffusion of religious instruction throughout the continent, than to the 
political progress of society. We need only refer to the condition of the 
church in the city of New- York previous to the revolution, to show how incom- 
petent a colonial religious establishment would have been to educate and send 
abroad the clergy and missionaries required among a growing people. The 
apprehensions to which we have referred were by no means general among the 
episcopalians, who soon became sensible of the injury which their church was 
receiving from that source, and from a prevalent prejudice that the episcopal 
form of government had a peculiar affinity for monarchical institutions. The best 
efforts of the clergy were jjut in requisition to refute these prejudices, and in 
many of the pamphlets, written for that purpose, may be found very able argu- 
ments against a union of the church and the state, and in defence of the cardinal 
principle that religion is best promoted, and most fruitful of blessings, when wholly 
independent of the patronage and control of government. 

Soon after the revolution, all the religious denominations in the state, with one 
exception, had risen to ecclesiastical independence. Candidates for the clergy, 
for many years, obtained their theological education in the private study of some 
approved divine of their particular sect. But pro\'ision was early made to guard 
against the admission of unqualified candidates, by an open examination before 
the body which conferred orders. The advantages, however, which would be 
afforded by public institutions for theological education were too obvious to be 
overlooked. The " Theological Seminary of the Associate Reformed Synod of 
New- York," was established in 1801, through the efforts of the reverend John 
M. Mason, D.D., and was the first theological institution in the United States. 
Dr. Mason was elected the only professor of theschool in 1804, and it went into 
actual operation in 1805. It received a valuable theological library, procured in 
Europe in 1802, by the personal solicitations of its founder. He relinquished 
his office after about fifteen years. The school was removed to Newburgh, and 


received a charter in 1825. It has three professors and eleven students, and a 
collection of 4,000 volumes. The Lutherans, in 1815, established the Hartwick 
Theological Seminary, at Hartwick in Otsego county. It had two professors, 
some ten or twelve students, and a library of 1,000 volumes. The Theological 
Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, was instituted 
in the city of New- York in 1817. It was removed to New-Haven in 1820, but 
restored to New- York in 1821, and was then incorporated. It has now five pro- 
fessors, seventy-four students, and about 7,260 volumes in its libraries. It has 
given to the church one hundred and eighty-six ministers. The Presbyterian 
Theological Seminary, at Auburn, was founded in 1821. It has four professors, 
sixty-nine students, and libraries containing 5,000 volumes, and has sent forth into 
the vineyard of Christ three hundred and forty-four laborers. The presbyterian 
" New- York Theological Seminary," in the city of New- York, was established 
in 1836, and has four professors, ninety students, and libraries containing 12,000 
volumes. The^Baptist Association have founded an academical institution at 
Hamilton ; the Methodists a similar one at Lima ; and the Catholics a like insti- 
tution at Rose-Hill ; with a laudable purpose respectively of elevating the stan- 
dard of education among their clergy. 

Although the various divisions of the church have generally observed forbear- 
ance towards each other, and a good degree of harmony has prevailed among 
their own communions, there has been enough of controversy to test the learning 
and skill of the clergy in polemic divinity. The first instance of this kind 
occurred in the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, and is known in its annals 
as the " coetus and conferentic controversy." The inconveniences of dependence 
upon the classis of Amsterdam, befoi-e mentioned, induced certain ministers, in 
1737, to propose the plan of a coetus or assembly of ministers and elders, which 
should have merely powers of advice and admonition. This plan which was 
adopted and approved by the church in Holland, called forth the exertions of the 
reverend Theodore J. Freelinghuysen. The arrangement proved inefficient, 
and, in 1754, the church was distracted by two parties, the one called the coetus 


insisting on casting off ecclesiastical connection with the classis of Amsterdam ; 
the other, the " conferentia," which struggled to maintain that connection. The 
weight of learning was on the side of the latter ; but zeal, industry and more 
practical preaching distinguished the former. The controversy was finally settled 
in 1772, chiefly through the agency of the reverend Dr. John H. Livingston and 
the reverend Dr. Laidley of New- York, and the reverend Dr. Eilardus Westerlo 
of Albany, and the reverend Dr. Theodoric Romeyn of Schenectady. 

In 1805, Dr. Wilham Linn commenced, in the Albany Sentinel, a series of 
strictures upon a work then recently published by the reverend John H. Hobart, 
afterwards bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church, entitled " A Companion 
for the Altar," in which the peculiar claims and tenets of the Episcopal ministry, 
in regard to divine ordination, were set forth. Mr. Hobart's doctrines were de- 
fended with great ability by Thomas Y. How, Esq., under the signature of " A 
Layman of the Episcopal Church," and by the reverend Frederick Beasly of 
Albany, under the name of " Cyprian." Dr. Linn rejoined, and thus drew into 
the controversy bishop Moore, who assumed the name of " Cornelius ;" bishop 
White of Pennsylvania, under the name of " Detector," and Mr. Hobart, under 
the signature of " Vindex." Dr. Linn, under the signatures of " Umpire " and 
*' Inquirer," defended himself with great ability against these new antagonists. 
These essays constitute a part of our theological learning. In 1806, the reverend 
John M. Mason, D.D., reviewed these essays in the Christian's Magazine. What- 
ever may be thought of the merit of the controversy, it is universally admitted 
that the review was written with extraordinary force and brilliancy, logical acu- 
men and point. It excited great interest, and the whole controversy is worthy of 
a reperusal. Dr. Mason is remembered as a man of ardent temperament, great 
genius, high literary attainments and deeply versed in all the learning of his pro- 
fession, and as a fearless commentator on the tendency of passing events. He 
employed the whole powers of his intellect in expounding the scriptures, and 
excelled in eloquence and persuasion all his contemporaries.* The reverend 

♦ M. C. Patterson's Address on Primary Education. 


Dr. Samuel Miller, in 1807, published letters on the constitution and order of the 
christian ministry, which engaged him in a controversy concerning that important 
doctrine with Thomas Y. How, the reverend Dr. Bowden of Columbia College, 
the reverend Dr. Kemp of Maryland, and Dr. Hobart, afterwards bishop. Dr. 
Miller's portion of this controversy is held in high estimation by that portion of 
the church whose views accord with his own. The " Triangle," by the reverend 
Mr. Samuel Whelpley, is still remembered as a masterly performance. 

In pulpit eloquence, the reverend Dr. Mason's discourse upon the death of 
Hamilton, and baccalaureate addresses by the reverend Eliphalet Nott, D.D., 
president of Union College, are productions of a high order.* 

A colonial writer, to whom we have before referred, describes the medical 
profession as worthy of very little respect, and declares " that pretenders have 
recommended themselves to a full practice and profitable subsistence. This," 
he adds, " is the less to be wondered at, as the profession is under no kind of 
regulation. Loud as the call is, they have no law to protect the lives of the 
king's subjects. Any man at his pleasure sets up for a physician, apothecary and 
chirurgeon. Candidates are neither examined nor Hcensed, nor are they even 
sworn to fair practice." 

Nevertheless, we find occasional notices of medical prescribers who had enjoyed 
the advantages of sound education at foreign universities, and who dispensed the 
benefits of their knowledge in this, their adopted country. Megapolensis, Dupie, 
Dubois, Beekman, Magrath, John Bard, Middleton, Clossy, and Farquhar were 
justly conspicuous. Dr. Cadwallader Colden, who was surveyor-general, and 
subsequently lieutenant-governor of the province, was eminent not only as a 
philosopher and a naturalist, but as a physician and medical writer. We are 
indebted to him for the first scientific account which we have of the climate and 
diseases of the city of New- York. We have in this work satisfactory evidence, 
that owing to the " clearness " and purity of the atmosphere, and its vigor in the 
spring season, consumption of the lungs is not an endemical disease, and hence 

• Notes concerning the clergy were received from the reverend Dr. J. N. Campsfll and the reverend T. C. Reed. 


it results that the prevalence of pulmonary affections has been produced by erro- 
neous personal and social habits. Dr. Colden's elaborate paper on the manage- 
ment of the fever of New- York, which prevailed in 1742 ; his account of the 
plant called " water dock," and his earnest recommendation of the cooling pro- 
cess, in the cure of fevers, an innovation on the therapeutic measures of that age, 
are yet held in high estimation.* 

Dr. John Bard, already mentioned, published an able essay on the nature and 
cause of malignant pleurisy, which proved very fatal on Long Island in 1749, 
and astonished his medical brethren in New- York in 1795, by identifying at once 
the pestilence, which then ravaged the city, with the malignant yellow fever, of 
which not a case had occurred within his observation, since its previous visit in 

His son Samuel Bard, while a student at the university of Edinburgh, received 
the Hope medal as an acknowledgment of his acquirements in botany, and his 
inaugural dissertation, dc viribus opii, attracted the attention of the erudite Haller. 
He made other contributions to medical science, of which his " Inquiry into the 
nature, cause and cure of the angina suffocativa," or sore throat, a disease attended 
with great mortality in New- York, will perhaps be longest remembered. 

Dr. Jacob Ogden, of Long Island, in 1769 and 1774, addressed to the public, 
letters on the same disease, which are worthy of reference, because they urge 
with boldness the mercurial practice, which, although it had been before sug- 
gested by Dr. Douglass, had not yet obtained any general favor. 

Dr. Richard Bayley, in 1781, published a letter to Dr. William Hunter of 
London, on "Angina Trachealis," or the croup, setting forth a new mode of cure 
of that very alarming and too often fatal inflammation, and subsequent expe- 
rience in this and other countries has confirmed the utility of the discovery. 

In 1769, a medical faculty was projected and associated with the academic 
corps of King's, now Columbia College. This measure awakened an active spirit 

* Dr. Francis' Discourse before the New- York Lyceum of Natural History. 


of inquiry into the sciences tributary to the heahng art. Middleton, Bard, Smith, 
Tennant, Glossy and Jones, the first professors, were eminent in their respective 
departments. Middleton exhibited research and learning in a comprehensive 
discourse on the history of medicine. Glossy had written with success on morbid 
anatomy. The first instance in which the degree of doctor of medicine was 
conferred in this state was in 1771, when Samuel Kissam received that honor. 
A copy of his inaugural dissertation on the anthelmintic virtue of the pliaseolus 
zuratensis siliqua hirsuta, is preserved in the library of the New- York Historical 
Society. The medical school connected with King's Gollege was visited with 
the same misfortunes which befel that institution during the revolutionary war. 
Efforts made by the regents of the university, after the return of peace, to re- 
organize the medical faculty, were unsuccessful. In 1792, however, the trustees 
announced the reestablishment of the school, and doctors Bailey, Post, Ham- 
mersly, Rodgers, Mitchill, Hosack and Stringham labored assiduously as profes- 
sors during several years. The " Gollege of Physicians and Surgeons" in the 
city of New- York was founded under a charter granted by the regents of the 
university in 1807. Nicholas Romayne, as president of this new school, delivered 
an inaugural discourse, evincing varied knowledge and very original views on the 
physiology of the different races of the human species. Smith, Hosack, De 
Witt, Miller, Bruce and others, professors in this institution, gave it a high repu- 
tation, and secured popular approbation of its instructions ; but a rivalry between 
it and the medical school of Columbia Gollege was justly regarded as a public 
misfortune, and in 1813 the two institutions were combined. In the new faculty, 
anatomy was assigned to Dr. Post, the practice of physic to Hosack, chemistry 
and pharmacy to Dr. Macneven, surgery to Dr. Mott, materia medica to Dr. 
Francis, obstetrics to Dr. Osborn, mineralogy to Dr. Mitchill, and medical juris- 
prudence to Stringham. The school flourished many years, but at length, in 
1826, professional rivalry, and the deaths of some of the professors, so embar- 
rassed the survivors that they resigned their chairs, and retired with the thanks 
of the regents for their eminent ability and assiduity. 


The regents appointed a new faculty, consisting of doctors Watts, J. A. Smith, 
Stevens, Dana, J. M. Smith, Delafield and John B. Beck ; and Dr. Watts 
became president of the institution, which, with some changes in its corps of 
teachers, still continues to dispense medical knowledge. The faculty which had 
retired, established a new school under the sanction of Rutgers College of New- 
Jersey, and gave lectures for a time in the city of New- York, which were re- 
ceived with high favor ; but a charter being denied them, they discontinued their 
labors in 1829. 

The University of the city of New- York has recently established a medical 
faculty, in which Dr. Mott lectures on surgery. Dr. Patterson on anatomy, Dr. 
Paine on the materia medica, Dr. Draper on chemistry. Dr. Revero on the prac- 
tice of physic, and Dr. Bedford on obstetrics. About four hundred pupils are 
now annually educated in the medical profession in the city of New- York. 

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of the western district was founded 
at Fairfield, in Herkimer county, in 1812, under a charter granted by the regents. 
The institution flourished many years, but has recently been discontinued, and 
its professors transferred to the new Medical College recently established at Al- 
bany. The faculty of this institution combines much talent and learning. 

A faculty of medicine equally respectable and efficient has been established at 
Geneva College, and is diffusing medical knowledge very extensively to the 
numerous candidates for the honors of the profession in the western region of the 
state. The medical schools last mentioned have received liberal aid from the 
public treasury, and deservedly continue to enjoy the nurturing care of the 
regents of the university. 

Returning from this brief account of institutions for medical education to our 
notice of the early progress of the healing art, we find a short paper written by 
Michaelis during the revolutionary war, showing the importance of opium as 
applicable to certain conditions of the human system, being an essay containing 
interesting results of his practice among the foreign troops. North, a physician 
attached to the British army in New-Yo^-k, about the same time, introduced his 


apparatus for facilitating the inhaling of medicated vapors, since so widely ap- 
proved in Europe. Magrath, an Irish physician in the same city, deserved to be 
. remembered for his strenuous efforts to introduce the cooling process of treat- 
ment of febrile diseases. Surgery found an intrepid operator in McKnight. Bai- 
ley, Bard and Treat were distinguished in clinical toil, and Crosby and Dingley 
are remembered as skilful practitioners. 

Dr. Addams published in 1791 the first American tract on the subject of yellow 
fever. The subsequent recurrence of that pestilence in 1795, called forth essays 
by many medical writers ; among whom were Buel, E. H. Smith, Mitchill, Sea- 
man and Bayly. The latter aimed to establish a distinction between infectious 
and contagious diseases, until that time too generally confounded by physicians. 

The dreadful ravages of the yellow fever in the United States, and reports 
too fearfully authentic of calamities inflicted by a like plague on the coast of 
Africa and in the West Indies, had created a spirit of philosophic inquiry into the 
origin of the disease, when Dr. Priestly arrived in this country. Recognised as 
the author of the gaseous philosophy, which was expected to throw new light 
upon the subject, his presence stimulated the eagerness of research into the nature 
of fevers and of pestilence in general. Dr. Mitchill put forth a treatise on the 
qualities of the nitrous oxide gas, and entered into a controversy with Priestly 
concerning the nature of phlogiston. The recurrence of the disease with undi- 
minished virulence in 1798, 1801, 1803, 1805, 1819 and 1822, prolonged the 
discussion thus commenced. Notwithstanding all that has been written, the 
nature of the pestilence is a mystery yet to be unfolded ; but it is just to affirm 
that the learning, talents and clinical acumen which the subject has called forth, 
reflect honor upon the professors of the healing art. 

The writings of Dr. Miller, and his new nomenclature of febrile and pestilen- 
tial diseases, have had a wide circulation. The nTimerous contributions to medi- 
cal science by Dr. Hosack, have had much influence on the minds of professional 
and general readers ; and he is distinguished for having projected a new classi- 
fication of contagious diseases. 

Intr, 6 


In 1816, a new topic of inquiry was presented here, as well as in Europe, 
involving the question whether the human system was susceptible of the yellow 
fever a second time. Dr. Francis, then in London, addressed a letter of inquiry 
on the subject to the medical faculty of the United States ; and the result of the 
testimony acquired, seemed to show that, after one visitation, the constitution has 
generally an exemption from that disease. Dr. Townsend, in his treatise on the 
yellow fever as it manifested itself in 1822, corroborated this conclusion ; but 
after all, on a jioint of such deep interest to humanity, further inquiry seems 

Dr. Hugh Williamson's " Observations on the climate in different parts of 
America, compared with the climate in corresponding parts of the European con- 
tinent," is a work of much interest. His exposition of the meliorating effects of 
cultivation of the earth upon the temperature of the country, is very cheering to 
the philanthropist. The disquisitions of Dr. Samuel Forry, on the climate of 
the United States, and its endemic influences, challenges the attention of the 
philosopher as well as of the physician. 

A disease designated by several names, as " spotted fever," " malignant typhus," 
"typhoid pneumonia," and other appellations, prevailed extensively in 1812 
and 1813. Monographs on this pestilence were given to the public by North, 
Hosack, Hudson, Arnell, and several other contributors to the New- York Medical 
Repository, and to other periodical journals. 

The appearance of the cholera asphyxia, in 1832, at New- York and at Albany, 
and shortly afterwards its extensive ravages in other parts of this state, and the 
United States, awakened medical ardor, and the new enemy was encountered 
with energy and with clinical acumen. It numbered four thousand victims in New- 
York, and was proportionably not less fatal in Albany. Francis, Paine, McNaugh- 
ton and Reese were distinguished by their examinations into the origin and nature 
of the disease. It is deeply to be regretted that we are still without a direct and 
perfect history of this, and the various other epidemics which have prevailed at 
different periods. The influenza spread over our territory in 1807, in 1811, and 


in several subsequent years. The scarlet fever and the measles have, during 
the last twelve years, been unusually rife, and the varioloid, or modified small 
pox, has again and again intruded, and sometimes with great malignity. Have 
the two former diseases acquired more power with their increasing virulence ? Has 
the frequent recurrence of the varioloid a tendency to impair confidence in the 
efficacy of vaccination 1 These are inquiries in which the happiness of man- 
kind are deeply intei-ested. 

Previously to the revolution, and for some time afterwards, the art of surgery 
was neglected. The United States furnished no schools, and chirurgical know- 
ledge was confined to those who had received a foreign education. A post mor- 
tem anatomical examination is recorded as early as 1691. The subject was the 
body of governor Sloughter, who had suddenly died under circumstances cre- 
ating a suspicion of poison. The account of the dissection is sufficiently minute 
and satisfactory to do away the imputation, and the pathological conclusions of 
the surgeons concerning the cause of death corresponded with the received 
doctrines of that age. The earliest anatomical dissection, for the purpose of 
imparting knowledge, was performed in 1750, by doctors John Bard and Peter 
Middle ton ; the subject was a convicted felon. 

John Jones, already mentioned as one of the faculty of King's College, first 
performed the operation of lithotomy in the city of New- York. He produced, 
in 1775, "Plain Remarks upon Wounds and Fractures," which was the first sur- 
gical treatise printed in America, and became a text book. Dr. Bayley, in 1782, 
successfully performed the operation of amputating the arm at the shoulder joint, 
which had not before been attempted in this country. Dr. McKnight, in 1790, 
accomplished a bold and difficult operation in obstetrics, until then unattempted 
here, except in a case thirty years previous, when it was performed by Dr. John 

Surgery is now taught in all our medical schools, and facilities are afforded in 
them all, for the study of practical anatomy. Yet there is a deficiency of ad\'an- 
tages for imparting that perfect clinical instruction that can only be given in an 


infirmary, where the various surgical operations are performed for the rehef of 
patients. The New- York Hospital is the only institution in the state possessing 
such advantages. This institution was founded in 1770, at the suggestion of Dr. 
Bard, but the war prevented its being open for the reception of patients until 
1791. The students of the medical schools in New- York enjoy the advantages 
it affords. Among the surgeons who have acquired reputation since the revolu- 
tion, we may name Dr. Wright Post, who has the merit of having, in 1817, first 
performed successfully the operation of tying the subclavian artery. In 1818, 
Dr. Mott tied the arteria innominata, in the person of a patient who had a sub- 
clavian aneurism, an operation never before attempted. The difficulty of per- 
forming this operation, without fatal consequences, results from its effects to stop 
almost the whole direct supply of blood from one side of the head, and from one 
arm. The patient died twenty-six days after the operation, in consequence of 
secondary hemorrhage ; but it satisfactorily appeared that the ligature had not 
prevented a necessary supply of blood, and thus one source of apprehension con- 
cerning this operation was removed. It has been rej^eated once by Graefe of 
Berlin. His patient died sixty-seven days after the operation. Dr. Mott, in 
1827, applied a ligature to the common iliac artery, to cure an aneurism ; an 
operation never before attempted for that purpose ; and in 1828, he exscinded 
the clavicle in a case of osteosarcoma of that bone ; an operation, until that time, 
unknown in surgery. 

Pomeroy White, of Hudson, was the first surgeon in this country who tied the 
internal iliac artery. We cannot leave these notices of chirurgery, without men- 
tioning the high merits in that department of Alexander H. Stevens, John C. 
Cheesman and J. R. Rodgers. 

Physiology has only recently engaged attention in this state. A young Cana- 
dian received a musket shot in the side, which carried away a portion of the 
walls of the thorax, and perforated the stomach. He recovered from the effects 
of this injury under the care of Dr. Beaumont, a surgeon in the army, residing in 
this state; but a fistidous opening in the stomach remained, through which articles 


of food might be introduced or withdrawn, and the aperture permitted visual 
observations of the organ. The case was rare, and almost unique in the annals 
of medical science, and certainly in no other instance had such an one been made 
so profitable to physiology. By a series of observations and experiments, con- 
tinued for a long time, Beaumont arrived at these results : 1st. The existence of 
a gastric juice secreted by the stomach, and exciting a solvent action on food. 
2d. That this gastric juice is found in the stomach only when it is excited by the 
presence of food or other irritants. 3d. The period required by the stomach 
for digesting different substances, the effects of various agents and the pheno- 
mena attending the different stages of digestion. These observations were made 
at intervals from 1825 to 1833, and were published in the latter year at Platts- 
burgh. The government of the United States made a marked acknowledgment 
of this eminent contribution to medical science. 

Dr. Dyckman's dissertation on the pathology of fluids is held in high estima- 
tion. In the same class of publications may be noted " An Essay on Poisons," 
by Henry W. Ducachet ; and " Experiments on the Blood," by Dr. Macneven. 
Investigations, to considerable extent, have been made by Dr. Francis, on the 
hydrostatic test of Hunter, to ascertain the viability of fetile and infantile life. 

Independently of the connection of physiology with the medical art, the 
science has recently acquired interest as a part of general education in our col- 
leges and academies, and forms the subject of a popular treatise written by Dr. 
Lee, of New- York, and introduced into the school district library. The diffu- 
sion of such knowledge throughout the country, reacts upon the profession, 
and encourages its members to more careful and accurate investigation of the 
physical constitution. 

Dr. Stringham of Columbia College, and of the College of Physicians and Sur- 
geons in the city of New- York, delivered very interesting lectures upon medical 
jurisprudence. The course of instruction upon the same science has been con- 
tinued in that institution by John W. Francis and John B. Beck. Dr. Francis 
has published several essays on subjects falHng within that department ; and has 


dwelt upon its relations to the science of obstetrics in his edition of the work of 
Dr. Denman. Dr. Blatchford of Troy, in 1817, published an essay on feigned 
diseases, which contains the results of much curious observation. T. Romeyn 
Beck and John B. Beck have given us, under the name of the former, a volume 
on the science of medical jurisprudence, which has contributed to modify, in 
many important features, our code of criminal law ; and is admitted in Europe 
to be the best work on the subject written in our language, and to display more 
discriminating and patient research, free from ostentation of learning, than any 
work in the same department now extant. 

The periodical medical journals merit at least a passing notice. The Medical 
Repository was begun by Drs. Smith, Mitchill and Miller, in 1797, and con- 
tinued through twenty-three annual volumes. The American Medical and Phi- 
losophical Register appeared in 1810, and was conducted by Dr. Hosack and 
Dr. Francis. The New- York Medical and Pliilosophical Journal was published 
in 1809 and the two succeeding years, under the superintendence of Dr. Smith, 
Dr. De Witt and Dr. Macneven. The New- York Medical and Physical Jour- 
nal was commenced in 1822, and continued several years, by Drs. Francis, Beck 
and Dyckman. The New- York Medical and Surgical Journal, extending to 
four volumes, was published anonymously in 1840 and '41. The New- York 
Medical Gazette is a contemporaneous work.* 

So intimate has been the connection between political science and jurispru- 
dence, and so much have the members of the legal profession been identified 
with the patriots and statesmen who have overthrown a system incompatible with 
the development of the state, and perfected a republican government in its place, 
that we shall not assign to the bar a distinct place in these notes, but shall occa- 
sionally advert to its condition and progress in a brief sketch of the political his- 
tory of the state. 

As we have seen, the germ of New- York was a shoot from a commercial 
aristocracy. The Dutch, who had no popular liberty nor representative legisla- 

♦ Notea concerning Surgery and Physiology were furnislied by Thomas Hon, M.D. 


tion at home, bestowed no thought on colonial representation. The company by 
whom the colony was founded had an absolute power over its government.* 

The form of government established was essentially feudal. Charters were 
given to patroons, conveying large grants of land to be occupied by a tenantry, 
over whom the proprietor exercised military and judicial authority, personally 
presiding in his courts of justice ; but in important cases an appeal was re- 
served to the governor.f Such jurisprudence, as was then known in the colony, 
was derived from the Roman civil law.J The institution of human slavery 
was contemporaneous with the foundation of the colony, " the company pledging 
itself to furnish the colonial manors wdth negroes, if the traffic should prove 
lucrative." No legal provision was made for the diffusion of religion or knowledge. 
The jealous spirit of commercial monopoly in Holland forbade the colonies to 
make any woolen, linen or cotton fabric, on penalty of exile ; and to impair the 
monopoly was punishable as a perjury. § The first fruits of such a charter were 
seen in the venality of the directors and agents of the company, who soon ap- 
propriated to themselves, under pretence of founding settlements, all the impor- 
tant points where the natives came to traffic, and jars and dissensions between 
the feudal possessors and the government necessarily followed. Nor did the inha- 
bitants of the province immediately gain political advantages from the conquest 
by the English. Nichols, by whom the reduction of the colony was effected, and 
who was the first English governor, during his short stay in New- York, enriched 
himself as did many of his successors, by making new grants of land and exacting 
compensation for confirming those previously made. The governor chose his own 
council, and exercised executive and legislative powers. A court of assize was 
constituted, but the justices were appointed by the governor and dependent on 
him, and served only to increase his importance while diminishing his responsi- 
bilities. He called a convention of two deputies from each town, but conceded 
to that body no legislative powers ; and the assembly, after settling the civil divi- 

• BANCRorT. t Barnard's Discourse, } Kent. 5 Bancroft. 


sions of the colony, concluded their labors with a loyal address to the proprietor 
and retired, without having transcended the limits assigned by his representative. 
Yet the inhabitants had suffered so long the inconvenien3es of arbitrary govern- 
ment, and indulged such high expectations of pai'ticipating in the enjoyments of 
the rights of subjects, on becoming a part of the British empire, that a S2:)irit of 
liberty was awakened among them, which was never afterwards to be repressed. 
Governor Lovelace, the successor of Nichols, continued to exercise the same 
unlimited authority, and levied taxes and imposed duties, without consulting the 
inhabitants. The people assembled, in many places, and addressed to the court 
of assize, petitions, in which they reprobated their exclusion from legislation, and 
the principle of taxation without consulting the people, as inconsistent with the 
English constitution. Failing to obtain any important concessions, the inhabitants 
in several towns resolved to withhold payment of taxes. These resolutions were 
laid before the court of sessions of the West Riding, whose jurisdiction then 
extended over Staten Island, Newtown and Kings county. That court, assisted 
by the colonial secretary, and one of the council, adjudged the representations 
scandalous, illegal and seditious ; and the papers having been laid by the governor 
before his council, were, in pursuance of their orders, burned by the common 



The new patent granted to the Duke of York, in 1G74, made no concession 
of popular rights, but confirmed his power to enact all such ordinances as he or 
his assigns should think fit, reserving a right of appeal to the king and his council. 
No person could trade with the province, without the proprietor's permission, and 
he was authorized to establish such imposts as he should think necessary. The 
arbitrary proceedings of Andros, in 1675, called forth meetings, in which the 
people expressed a firm determination to persist in their claims for a representa- 
tive legislature. Those claims were submitted, by the governor, to his patron. 
James replied, " I cannot but suspect assemblies would be of dangerous conse- 



quence ; nothing being more known, than the aptness of such bodies to assume 
to themselves many privileges which prove destructive to, or very often disturb 
the peace of the government, where they are allowed ; neither do I see any use 
for them. Things that need redress may be sure to find it at the quarter sessions, 
or by appeals to myself." The discontent of the colonists was not allayed by this 
answer. The governor proceeded to England for instructions, and returned with 
the information that the proprietor had condescended to limit to a term of three 
years the existing arbitrary imposts ; a concession, which only served to excite 
universal disgust. The influence of William Penn, howevei", prevailed upon the 
Duke of York, and he granted, in 1G83, what was called a "charter of liberties." 
It declared that supreme legislative power should forever reside in the governor, 
a council, and the people ; and gave to freeholders and freemen the privilege of 
voting for representatives. The assembly consisted of seventeen members, a 
number which was gradually increased to twenty-seven before the commencement 
of the revolution; and the charter declared that no tax should be assessed on 
any pretence whatever, without consent of the assembly. But the governor was 
appointed by the proprietor, and the council were appointed by the governor, 
and both the governor and proprietor retained the right to negative all bills, and 
to prorogue and dissolve the assembly. No sooner had the duke ascended the 
throne of England, than he sought to overturn the constitution which had thus 
been founded. He decreed a direct tax upon the colony, by ordinance, and 
instructed the governor to reorganize the council, and to make laws, levy taxes, and 
control the militia, with the consent of the council alone ; and added to these 
instructions an injunction to suffer no printing press to be established in the colony. 

The revolution of 1G88 was hailed throughout the colony as the harbinger of 
liberty. The general assembly was again reorganized, and the government 
assumed forms somewhat conducive to the maintenance of law and order; but 
still denying to the people rights enjoyed by their fellow subjects in England, 
and maintaining a policy injurious to the growth and prosperity of the colony. 
The governor was dii'ected by queen Anne to take especial care that the Al- 

Intr. 7 


mighty should be devoutly and duly served according to the rites of the church 
of England, and to give all possible encouragement to trade and traders, " par- 
ticularly to the Royal African Company in England ;" which company was 
expressly desired by the queen, " to take especial care that the colony should 
have a constant and sufficient supply of merchantable negroes, at moderate rates." 
No commodities were allowed to be imported into the colonies, or exported 
thence, but in vessels built in England, or in some one of her colonies, and navi- 
gated by British crews. The colonies were prohibited from exporting to any 
other country than England, and imposts were established by the royal government. 

In 1703, the assembly, justly complaining of the misapplication of the colonial 
revenue, insisted upon the establishment of a treasury. Governor Cornbury 
refused to comply with this demand, saying to the assembly that " they talked 
of their rights," but he knew of " no rights they had as an assembly but such as 
the queen was pleased to allow." But the governor was nevertheless dependent 
upon the assembly for supplies, and that body, unmoved equally by executive 
Influence and prerogative, became continually more democratic. 

The judiciary of the colony consisted of such inferior courts as those held by 
justices of the peace, courts of sessions, and courts of common pleas, and the 
supreme court, which was as it now is, a court of general, civil and criminal 
jurisdiction. In 1712, governor Hunter, by the advice of his council, and with- 
out the consent of the assembly, and for the jaurpose of increasing the royal 
power, erected a court of chanceiy, assumed to himself the powers of chan- 
cellor, and appointed the requisite number of masters, with an examiner, regis- 
ter and clerks. 

The effect of this institution was to increase the power of the crown, and to 
diminish that of the assembly. That body thereupon protested against the esta- 
blishment of the court, as an act of royal usurpation ; but the lords of trade who 
then had superintendence over the affairs of the colony, affirmed her majesty's 
right to institute as many courts as she thought proper. The controversy on this 
subject formed one of the grounds of the division of parties until the revolution. 


The ignorance aud venality of the governors, and the extortions practised in the 
court, tended greatly to increase the jJopular odium ; but governor Burnet was 
exempt from these reproaches. 

In 1724 a collision arose between the governor and the assembly, ujjon his 
refusing to administer oaths to a member named De Lancey, who had been 
returned as a member of the assembly, on the ground that he was not a subject 
of the crown. The assembly claimed the right to judge of the quaUfications of 
its members. This right of the assembly was not afterwards questioned. 

It is recorded, to the honor of governor Montgomerie, who entered upon his 
administration in 1728, that he declined to officiate as chancellor until he received 
positive directions from the ministry. About this period in the history of the 
colony, the legal profession begins to claim attention. 

Our first lawyer was Adrian Vanderdonk. He was educated at the University 
at Leyden, and came to America in a bark belonging to the patroon of Rensse- 
laerwyck, in 1642. He resided in the last mentioned manor several years, filling 
the office of scout, which combined to some extent the duties of judge and sheriff. 
He subsequently removed to New- York, then New- Amsterdam, where he acted 
as chamber counsel, the government denying to him permission to appear in the 
courts, because there was no other lawyer to confront him. He signalized him- 
self in 1650, by a remonstrance to the States General, upon the abuses of power 
in the colony, and in 1653 by his description of the New-Netherlands. The bar 
of the colony in 1716, admitted to its honors William Smith, the father of the 
historian, and James Alexander, father of Lord Stirling, who afterwards rose to 

Rip Van Dam, lieutenant-governor, performed the executive duties in the in- 
terval between the death of Montgomerie and the arrival of colonel Cosby, who 
was appointed the successor. Cosby had instructions to relinquish to Van Dam 
one half of the salary and perquisites of the office, which had accrued during 
his administration ; and, upon Van Dam's refusal to refund, assumed to clothe the 
judges of the supreme court with the dignity of barons and the powers and juris- 


diction of exchequer, similar to those of the court of exchequer in England, 
in order to facihtate a recovery by the governor of his claims against his prede- 
cessor. Smith and Alexander, of counsel for Van Dam, excepted to the exche- 
quer jurisdiction of the court. Lewis Morris, then chief justice, supported the 
exceptions, but was overruled by judges De Lancey and Phillipse. This decision, 
overruling the plea of Van Dam, excited high indignation among the people. 
The governor, nevertheless, removed the chief justice, whom he could not over- 
awe, and the subservient De Lancey was, without consulting the council, appointed 
chief justice ; a promotion for which he manifested his gratitude, by directing all 
his efforts to procure the indictment and conviction of Zenger for the libel be- 
fore mentioned, and the detection of the authors of other libels in the Weekly 
Journal. Li 1735, Alexander and Smith, who appeared as counsel for Zenger, 
filed exceptions to the commission of the judges, De Lancey and Phillipse, on 
the ground that the tenure specified in the commission was during pleasure, and 
not during good behavior, and for other causes. The judges met the exceptions 
with the answer, " You have brought it to that point that either we must go from 
the bench, or you from the bar," and excluded the contumacious lawyers, as has 
been already mentioned. These proceedings, together with those on the sub- 
sequent trial of Zenger, gave new violence to the political dissensions already 
raging in the colony. 

A bill was passed in the assembly for the frequent meeting and calling of the 
general assembly ; but the council amended it in such a manner as to change its 
effect, and it failed to become a law. Li 1735, Mr. Garretson, a member from 
Kings county, submitted a report to the effect, that the maintenance of a court 
of chancery v/ithin the colony, without consulting the general assembly, was con- 
trary to law, unwarrantable, and of dangerous consequence to the liberties and 
the property of the people, and the house concurred in the report. Still gover- 
nor Cosby, finding the assembly more practicable than he had a right to expect, 
from the temper of the times, a succeeding one would be, continued that body, 
for a period of six years, refusing to dissolve it, or issue new writs of election ; 


which term was prolonged three years by his successor. These grievances justly 
irritated the people, and are recorded in the declaration of independence among 
the wrongs suffered at the hands of the king of Great Britain. 

The general assembly of 1737, truly represented the spirit which then per- 
vaded the people ; and its proceedings are regarded as constituting an important 
era in the history of American legislation. In their address to the governor, 
they afhrmed that none ought to represent the people but such as were freely and 
fairly chosen by them ; that elections ought to be frequent ; that experience had 
shown the danger of trusting the same men too long with power ; and that pro- 
per checks and balances were necessary for the preservation of the liberty and 
happiness of any country. The assembly distinctly informed the representative 
of the crown, that they would not raise sums unfit to be raised, nor put what 
they should raise into the power of the governor to misapply, if they could pre- 
vent it ; that they would not at any one time make provision for the support of 
government for a jDeriod longer than a year, nor would they even for that period, 
until such laws should be passed as were necessary to the safety of the inhabitants 
of the colony. They asserted the importance of having an agent at the court of 
Great Britain, appointed and paid by the house, independently of the governor. 
They firmly remonstrated against the continuance of the court of chancery, as 
then constituted, declaring that the governors in maintaining that court, without 
the consent of the assembly, had treated that body with unreasonable neglect 
and contempt, and affirmed that some of the governors were wholly unfit for the 
duties of chancellor or of any other station, though buoyed up and bloated with 
flatteries by the instruments of their misrule and oppression. The house now 
first adopted the important principle of recording the votes of members. They 
passed a bill to appoint an agent to the court of Great Britain, which was lost by 
non-concurrence, as to its principal features, by the council ; demanded from 
that body satisfaction, for the insult it had offered by transmitting messages by the 
clerk, instead of a committee, limited supplies granted to the period of one year, 
and inhibited the treasurer from paying any part of the funds collected, until 


proper laws should be passed for that purpose. They passed a bill for the fre- 
quent election of representatives, and the governor being intimidated gave it his 
assent, but it was afterwards disallowed by the crown. After coming into direct 
collision with the governor, the assembly was ordered to attend him, when he, in 
an angry strain of invective and abuse, pronounced their proceedings presumptu- 
ous, daring and unprecedented, and saying that he could not look upon them 
wdthout astonishment, nor with honor suffer them to sit any longer, he declared 
the house dissolved. 

One of our best historians* pronounces a high eulogium upon this legislative 
body, declaring that its members properly appreciated their own dignity, and 
that neither ministerial smiles nor frowns could sway them from the path of 
duty. Yet the record contains one spot which the friends of rational liberty 
would wish to see effaced. On a question concerning a contested seat, the assem- 
bly resolved that Jews could neither vote for representatives nor be admitted as 

The election showed that the assembly had not misunderstood the feelings or 
sentiments of their constituents ; and the new legislature firmly adhered to the 
principles which had been asserted. The maintenance of those princijales ren- 
dered the executive dependent ujion the legislature, and thus an important step 
was taken towards that independence which was afterwards established. 

The institution of domestic slavery now began to produce its fruits of suspicion 
and fear. By the laws regulating that institution, every colored person was a 
slave, and a slave could not be a witness against a free man. The persons thus 
held in servitude were punishable by their masters to any extent short of priva- 
tion of life or limb. The disabilities of the slave were hereditary, and the race 
was therefore plunged into hopeless bondage and degradation. This oppression 
was supposed to be justified by the assumption that those thus injured were of 
" the accursed seed of Cain." Several fires having occurred in 1741, the negroes 

♦ John Van Ness Yates. 


were suspected as incendiaries. The magistrates, the poHce, and the common 
council, were seized with a panic which extended itself to the judges of the 
supreme court and throughout the city. All the members of the bar, consisting 
of Bradley, the attorney-general, and Alexander, Smith, Chambers, Nichols, 
Lodge and Jamieson, were summond to attend and aid the court. The lawyers, 
sharing the panic, volunteered to assist the public prosecutor by turns, and left 
the accused defenceless. Convictions were easily procured upon confessions, 
and the testimony of perjured informers extorted by threats and promises. The 
court forgot not only its own dignity, but the claims of justice and humanity. 
Four white persons, implicated in the supposed crimes, were executed. Eleven 
negroes were burned at the stake, eighteen were hanged, and fifty were trans- 
ported and sold into foreign slavery. 

The legislature in 1741 manifested a disposition to inquire into the defects of 
the jurisprudence of the colony, and Daniel Horsmanden, who was then a judge 
of the supreme court, was authorized to collect and revise the laws in force, with 
notes and references ; but that duty was not performed. It is asserted that the 
inconveniences resulting from his continuance in office, in advanced age and 
under growing infirmities, was the cause of the adoption of a jDrinciple still con- 
tinued in our constitution, which disqualifies a judge on his attaining the age of 
sixty years — a fact exceedingly interesting, as an illustration of the permanent 
influence which occasional circumstances may exert upon the legislation of a 

In 1743, a law was passed for the relief of imprisoned debtors, and legacies 
were made recoverable in courts of common law. The practice of instituting 
prosecutions by information, which had been constantly regarded with jealousy 
since the trial of Zenger, gave rise to a bill for regulating such proceedings, but 
it was lost in the council through the influence of the lieutenant-governor. The 
ministi-y, distrusting the loyalty of a people so bold in the assertion of their rights, 
availed themselves of the alarm excited by the renewal of hostilities by France, 
with a ^'iew to place the pretender upon the throne, and required that a law 


should be passed, obliging the inhabitants of the province to take the oaths pre- 
scribed by parliament, for the security of the government and of the protestant 
religion. The assembly complied, after a spirited debate, in which the measure 
was resisted, because it seemed to impeach the loyalty of the 2:)rovince. The 
collisions between the ministry and the governor on one side, and the assembly 
on the other, continued without abatement. The governor, in 1749, renewed his 
demand for provision for the support of government for five years, and when the 
house refused, threatened the members with punishment, declaring that the crown 
could abridge their rights and privileges at pleasure. The assembly resolved 
that the governor's conduct was arbitrary, illegal and a violation of their privi- 

In the instructions to governor Osborne, in 1753, the ministry persisted in all 
the obnoxious demands which had been so long and uncompromisingly opposed 
by the assembly. The year 1754 was rendered memorable by the assemblage 
of the congress of deputies of the several American colonies, at Albany, to devise 
a plan of union for common defence against the French and Indians. A project 
for a confederacy of the American colonies was prepared by Franklin. It em- 
braced Massachusetts, New-Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode-Island, New- York, 
New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North- Carolina and South-Caro- 
lina ; and proposed that each colony should retain its constitution, but a general 
government should be established, with a president-general and council, to be 
appointed by the crown, and a grand council to be composed of representatives 
elected by the assemblies of the several states. The apportionment of members 
in that council is worthy of notice, because it shows the relative population and 
strength of the colonies at that period, varying essentially from the relative impor- 
tance of the several states at the present time. Massachusetts was allowed seven 
representatives, New-Hampshire two, Connecticut five, Rhode-Island two, New- 
York four, New-Jersey three, Pennsylvania six, Maryland four, Virginia seven, 
North-Carolina four, South-Carolina four. The powerful machine thus projected 
for the support of the British throne, was twenty-one years afterwards successfully 


put in motion to resist the encroachments of parliament ; and it is not impossible 
that the adaptation of the plan to such a purpose, induced its rejection by the 
ministry, while the fear that it would strengthen the royal power caused it to be 
disapproved with equal promptness by the colonial assemblies.* 

The passage of the stamp act in 1765, which levied imposts in violation of a 
principle which all the American colonies had asserted, and thus far persever- 
ingly maintained ; and which provided for the execution of that impolitic mea- 
sure by means and agents equally obnoxious, produced universal exasperation. 

The act was printed and circulated in the streets of New- York, with the title 
of " The Folly of England and the Ruin of America." A congress of deputies met 
in New- York in October, 1765. New- York was represented by Robert R. Li- 
vingston, John Cruger, Philip Livingston, William Bayard, and Leonard Lispe- 
nard. Cadwallader Golden, then lieutenant-governor, announced that the con- 
gress was unconstitutional, unprecedented and unlawful, and he should give it no 
countenance. The congress solemnly protested that the people of the colonies 
were entitled to all the rights of Englishmen ; that no taxes could be imposed 
upon them without their consent ; that their only legislative representatives were 
the provincial assemblies ; and that the stamp act, passed by the parliament of 
Great Britain, without the consent of those assemblies, was subversive of the 
rights and liberties of the people. The manifestations of popular indignation 
and resistance, obliged the lieutenant-governor. Golden, to surrender the stamps 
which had been sent over for the use of the province — a concession which he 
made under protest, and to avert the calamities of a civil war. The law was 
successfully resisted, and in the subsequent year was repealed ; but the moment 
of the final controversy was now hastening, and every effort of the ministry to 
maintain the power of the crown, served only to inflame a spirit of resistance 
which had become general throughout the colonies. 


Intr. 8 


The press was brought into poHtical action, and prepared the public mind for 
a conflict of arms. The royal cause was sustained by Dr. Miles Cooper, the pre- 
sident of the college, and other clergymen of the Episcopal church. William 
Livingston, afterwards governor of New- Jersey, Gouverneur Morris, and others, 
defended the rights of the colonies. John Jay, having received an accomplished 
education, and already acquired high rank at the bar, engaged on the same side ; 
and at the same time, John Morin Scott and Alexander Hamilton, who then 
was only seventeen years of age, entered the controversy. On the 25th of July, 
1774, Philip Livingston, John Alsop, Isaac Low, James Duane and John Jay, 
were appointed delegates to the first congress at Philadelphia. That body, in 
adopting a declaration of the rights of the people of the colonies, laid the founda- 
tions of independence and union. The committee who reported that paper, 
were Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, and Messrs. Jay and Livingston of New- 
York. An address was also made to the people of Great Britain. This state 
paper, which was prepared by Mr. Jay, was distinguished alike for its elevated 
tone and glowing language. 

The general assembly of New- York was convened in 1775. Being in the 
interest of the crown, that body refused a vote of thanks to the representatives 
of the colony in the general congress, and by this, and other manifestations of 
pusillanimity, so effectually forfeited all claims to the public confidence, that the 
New-York committee of safety recommended that a provincial congress should 
be elected by the people. Mr. Jay, being a member of this committee, and now 
a third time elected a delegate to the general congress, surrendered himself to 
the public service. He distinguished himself, and aided the popular cause, by 
preparing an address to the people of Canada, invoking their neutrality ; and 
afterwards by a similar address, which was made by congress to their fellow 
subjects in Jamaica and Ireland. These papers were among the most effective 
of those issued by congress ; and which at once inspired the people of the colo- 
nies with confidence and zeal in their cause, and secured the respect of a large 
portion of the people of the mother country. 


The inhabitants of Queens county, on Long Island, had refused to appoint 
delegates to the provincial congress, and the subject arrested the attention of the 
general congress. Mr. Jay, from a conamittee, submitted a rejjort, with a bold 
and denunciatory preamble, " Whereas, a majority of the inhabitants of Ciueens 
county, in the colony of New- York, being incapable of resolving to live and die 
freemen, and being more disposed to quit their libeities than to part with a little 
proportion of their property, necessary to defend them, have deserted the Ame- 
rican cause by refusing to send deputies as usual to the convention of that colony, 
and evinced by a public declaration an unmanly design of remaining inactive 
spectators of the present contest, vainly flattering themselves, perhaps, that should 
Providence declare for our enemies, they may purchase their favor and mercy 
at an easy rate ; and, on the other hand, if the war should terminate in favor of 
America, that then they may enjoy, without expense of blood or treasure, all the 
blessings resulting from that liberty, which they in the day of trial had abandoned, 
and in the defence of which many of their more virtuous neighbors and country- 
men had nobly died ; and it being reasonable that those who refuse to defend 
their country should be excluded from its protection, and be prevented from 
doing it an injury," &c. The committee, therefore, recommended measures 
for putting the inhabitants of Ciueens county, who had voted against sending 
deputies to the provincial congress, out of the protection of the united colonies, and 
to disarm and subject the disaffected. The paper is a happy illustration of the 
spirit of the times, and of the talents of its author. At the close of the year 
1775, when all of the southern portion of New- York was in the hands of the 
enemy, the American army had retired from Westchester, baffled in its attempt 
in Canada, and general Washington was retreating thi-ough New- Jersey, the 
proclamation of the British commander offering protection and rewards to the 
timid and irresolute, the pen of Mr. Jay was again called into requisition by the 
congress of the United States, and was effectually exercised in a glowing address 
to their constituents ; a document of such extraordinary power, that, if it stood 
alone, it would be an ample vindication of the firmness and patriotism of congress. 


To such labors Mr. Jay added the preparation of the first constitution of 
the state of New- York, which was adopted by the convention in 1777. This 
work, although it was forty-four years afterwards superseded by another, cor- 
recting some defects disclosed in its operation, nevertheless asserted the chief 
popular rights, defined the relative powers of the various departments, and esta- 
blished the great pi-inciples of fundamental law as they yet exist, and will con- 
tinue for all time to come. 

It is time, however, to notice other actors who had come upon the stage, Philip 
Schuyler had secured to himself a thorough knowledge of the French language, 
then a rare accomplishment in this country, together with varied learning and 
extensive knowledge of the exact sciences. His favorite studies were finance, 
military engineering and political economy. He had been distinguished in the 
provincial military service, and first drew to himself the attention of his fellow- 
citizens, by his efforts in the general assembly in 1775, in the debates which 
brought the struggle between the ministerial and whig parties to a crisis. George 
Clinton, afterwards governor, and Nathaniel Woodhull, afterwards coresident of 
the provincial congress, were associated with Schuyler in these debates, which 
involved, not only the immediate causes of irritation, but also the fundamental 
principles of the British constitution, and of free representative government. To 
the spirit manifested on that occasion by the indomitable minority, may be attri- 
buted in a great measure the acquiescence of the people in the bold recommenda- 
tion for discarding the general assembly and instituting a new provincial legisla- 
ture. Thus was the boundary passed, a constitution subverted, and the colony, 
with her sister provinces, arrayed in open defiance of the British government. 

On the 9th of July, 1776, the provincial congress ratified the declaration of 
independence, and immediately assumed the title of the convention of the state 
of New- York. A committee v\'as appointed to prepare a constitution, and that 
task was entrusted to John Jay, James Duane, Gouverneur Morris, and Robert 
R. Livingston. The draft of the constitution was in the handwriting of Mr. Jay 
and was submitted by Mr. Duane ; and those individuals, together with Gouver- 


neur Morris and Robert R. Livingston, who also were eminent lawyers, gave to 
that instrument the form in which it was adopted by the convention. Upon pro- 
mulgating the constitution, the convention appointed a council of safety, which 
was invested with all the powers requisite for the security and preservation of the 
state, until a governor and legislature should be duly chosen and qualified to act 
under the new constitution. This council, thus invested with absolute power, 
nobly justified the confidence reposed in them by the convention, by the wisdom, 
firmness, energy and moderation which they displayed in that trying emergency. 
Their names were John Morin Scott, Robert R. Livingston, Christopher Tappen, 
Abraham Yates, junior, Gouverneur Morris, Zephaniah Piatt, John Jay, Charles 
De Witt, Robert Harpur, Jacob Cuyler, Thomas Tredwell, Pierre Van Cort- 
landt, Matthew Cantine, John Sloss Hobart and Jonathan B. Tompkins. 

George Clinton was elected governor, John Jay appointed chief justice, and 
Robert R. Livingston chancellor, under the new constitution. Philip Schuyler 
was appointed, in 1775, a representative in the congress of the United States, 
and soon afterwards major-general in the continental army. Mr. Jay subsequently 
filled the trusts of chief justice of the United States, governor of New- York and 
minister to the court of St. James. The name of Schuyler, although eclipsed 
during the revolutionary contest by personal and partizan jealousies, is neverthe- 
less destined to maintain a place in the military annals of that period, second only 
to his, who is without a compeer in the homage of mankind. Woodhull fell a martyr 
m battle, sustaining the cause he had so ably maintained in the councils of the 
state. The genius of Gouverneur Morris, as well as that of Robert R. Livingston, 
will be found impressed upon many a page, in which we are hereafter to record 
the social, moral and physical improvement of the State. 

If to Massachusetts belongs the honor of cradling the revolution, and to Vir- 
ginia that of having given birth to the author of the declaration of independence, 
and to the immortal chief who conducted the armies until its establishment, New- 
York may, with equal justice, lay claim to the honor of having produced the 
statesman who chiefly secured the adoption of the federal constitution, and put 


it into effectual and successful operation. Alexander Hamilton, while yet a stu- 
dent in Columbia College, defended the republican cause in a series of essays, 
marked with so much ability and wisdom, that they were attributed to the pen 
of John J ay, who was then in the fore ground in the councils of the state and the 
union. Of the talents exhibited by Hamilton, as a confidential aid-de-camp of 
the commander-in-chief, we have not room to speak. In 1782, the ardent yet 
discreet Hamilton, became a member of the bar, and was elected a delegate 
to congress, and acquired a commanding influence in that body. In 1786, he 
was a member of the legislature of this state, and in the same year was a delegate 
to the convention which formed the constitution of the United States. Disap- 
pointed in procuring the adoption of what he deemed essential features of such 
an instrument, he nevertheless acquiesced in the decisions of the convention, and 
gave his free and unreserved assent to the constitution as it was promulgated by 
that august body. It was a mighty task to prepare a form of government which 
should guaranty the union, the liberties, and the happiness of a rising people ; but 
a greater task remained. That people consisted of thirteen states, each of which 
had a separate constitution, local interests, and peculiar institutions, and was 
jealous of every thing which might, in the remotest degree, tend to diminish 
power and influence, deemed essential to popular liberty and self preservation. 
Whatever rendered the constitution acceptable to one or several states, awakened 
the jealousies of others, while, throughout the whole union, the people divided into 
two angry and violent parties ; the one apprehending that the federal power 
would be too weak to preserve the national security — the other, that that power 
would be too oppressive, and result in despotism, even more unendurable than 
that which had been so recently overthrown. To reconcile these conflicting 
opinions and interests, and procure the assent of the states to the constitution 
which had been proposed, and when adopted to carry it into successful opera- 
tion, under circumstances the most disheartening, was the task assumed by 
Hamilton. He addressed to the people a series of letters under the signature of 
the Federalist, in which he received important aid and cooperation from James 


Madison and John Jay. In this admirable work he expounded the principles of 
the constitution, and pointed out its application in all the various exigencies of 
peace and war, and of domestic prosperity and discontent ; and such were the 
sagacity and forecast thus manifested, that the Federalist still remains, after a 
lapse of half a century, a great and authoritative commentary on the federal com- 
pact. These labors were followed by others equally effective in the convention 
of this state, which resulted in the acceptance of the constitution of the United 
States by that body : efforts in which he was ably seconded by Robert R. Li- 
vingston, while that measure was resisted with great ability by Melancton Smith 
and his associates. 

The people of the United States were not unaware of the difficulties which 
would attend the organization of the new government, and, therefore, with the 
greatest unanimity, called Washington from his retirement to preside in the public 
councils in that emergency. While wisdom and energy were required in every 
department, that, which was to be entrusted with the subjects of finance, was sur- 
rounded with the worst embarrassments. The federal government and the 
state governments were alike hopelessly encumbered with debts, and the credit 
of both was prostrate. There was, as yet, no plan of revenue, no currency. 
The country was filled with imported fabrics, while every department of domes- 
tic industry was deranged. In what manner could a sufficient revenue be 
provided for the necessary expenditures of the government in so trying an 
emergency, and how was the exhausted credit of the country to be restored, 
and its prosperity to be renewed and invigorated 1 These were among the 
leading questions, to be settled by the first congress that assembled after the adop- 
tion of the constitution ; and they involved controversies in political economy, 
rendered still more difficult by conflicting interests and discordant views concern- 
ing the fiscal principles and powers of the government. Washington, with that 
sagacity which never erred, had assigned these subjects to the consideration of 
Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury. 

The work of Adam Smith, on the Wealth of Nations, published the year 


before the revolution, though very deficient in methodical arrangement, and on 
many points extremely discursive, was, nevertheless, justly considered as consti- 
tuting the foundation of a system of political economy, and establishing land- 
marks for the guidance of subsequent investigation. 

Hamilton discussed, with surpassing ability, the fiscal policy of the government 
in four reports. The first of which was on the public credit ; the second, on a 
national bank ; the third, upon manufactures; and the fourth, on the establishment 
of a mint. To point out the proper means for paying the public debts of the union 
and of the states was the object of the first report. He recommended that no discri- 
mination should be made between the creditors of the United States and those of 
the several members of the confederacy, and that the new system of finance 
should include the payment of all by the general government. 

The report on a national bank commenced with the pro250sition that such an 
institution wovild be of primary importance, for a prosperous administration of 
the finances, and of eminent utility, connected with the operations for the support 
of public credit, and maintained the expediency of establishing such an institu- 
tion, in a train of powerful arguments, derived from a view of the benefits which, 
it was alleged, resulted to trade and industry from pubhc banks, as well as those 
affecting credit, which, as was supposed, such an institution would afford in the 
peculiar circumstances of the country. The whole subject of banking, the uses 
and relation of specie and circulating notes, their respective advantages and in- 
conveniences as a currency, the arguments in favor of banks, and the objections 
to which they were obnoxious, were all thoroughly discussed. The president 
had required written opinions from the members of the cabinet, concerning the 
constitutionality of a bank. Mr. Jefferson, secretary of state, and Mr. Randolph, 
attorney-general, in their opinions denied the power of congress to establish such 
an institution. Hamilton's report may be considered a reply to these opinions, 
and whatever may be the merits of that still vexed question, this paper is univer- 
sally conceded to be an able vindication of the side of the argument which the 
author adopted. 


In the report on manufactures, Hamilton reviewed at length the positions 
assumed by Adam Smith, " that individuals were better judges, than statesmen 
or lawgivers could be, of the species of industry which their capital could em- 
ploy to the greatest advantage; that as every individual was constantly exerting 
himself to find out the most advantageous use for his capital, the study of his own 
advantage would necessarily lead him to prefer that employment which must be 
most beneficial to the general society. That every individual, who had embarked 
his capital in the support of domestic industry, naturally aimed so to direct it that 
it might yield the greatest possible profit; that what was prudent and economical 
in a private family could scarcely be otherwise in that of a great country ; that 
if a foreign country could furnish us with a commodity at a cheaper rate than we 
could manufacture it, it would be for our interest to purchase it with some part 
of the produce of our own industry, employed in a more profitable manner than 
in making the commodities referred to ; and that to give the monopoly of home 
market to the produce of domestic industry in any art or manufacture, would 
be giving an artificial direction to private capital that must be either useless or 
injurious." From which, and similar positions of a like nature, Smith had drawn 
the conclusion that the application of private capital and labor ought to be as 
little as possible controlled or restrained by regulations of government. Hamil- 
ton discussed these doctrines with great ability. He admitted that if the reason, 
by which the principle of free trade was defended, had more generally governed 
the conduct of nations, they might have advanced with gi-eater rapidity to pro- 
sperity and greatness than they had done by the pursuits of maxims too widely 
different. But he insisted that most theories had very many exceptions, and 
that very cogent reasons might be urged against the hypothesis that manufactures 
would grow up without the aid of government, " as soon and as fast as the natural 
state of things and the interest of the community may require." He showed, as 
objections to its truth, the influence of habit, the fear of failure in untried enter- 
prise, the difficulties inseparable from competition with those who have attained 
perfection in the business to be undertaken, and the bounties, premiums and arti- 
Intr. 9 


ficial encouragements with which foreign governments supported their own sub- 
jects, in divisions of industry in which they might be rivalled or surpassed. He 
also examined the hypothesis of the superior productiveness of agriculture, and 
maintained with elaborate reasoning that the general arguments brought to esta- 
blish it were not satisfactory. He discussed the relative advantages of foreign 
and domestic markets, and the circumstances peculiar to the condition of the 
country, which, in his judgment, rendered the interposition of the government for 
the protection of national industry expedient and necessary. On all these ques- 
tions the report covered the whole ground of controversy, and so full and forcible 
was its argument, that it is now referred to as authority, and as a text book by 
those who maintain the necessity of protecting American industry. 

General Hamilton's report on the establishment of a mint discussed, 1st, What 
ought to be the money unit of the United States ; 2d, The proper proportion 
between gold and silver ; 3d, The composition and proportion of alloy in each 
metal ; 4th, How the expense of coinage should be defrayed ; 5th, The number, 
denomination, sizes, and devices of the coins ; and 6th, Whether foreign coins 
should be permitted to be current, and at what weight. 

These reports of general Hamilton determined the fiscal policy of the United 
States. The federal government funded its own debt and those of the states. A 
bank was established, and throughout its career, rendered to the government and 
to the commerce of the country the services contemplated. A tariff for revenue, 
incorporated upon the principle of protecting domestic industry was established, 
and a mint was founded which furnished a sufficient supply of the precious metals 
for the proper coinage of the government. The credit of the union and of the 
states was speedily renewed and invigorated, and the public debt incurred in the 
revolutionary war, largely increased in the war of 1812, was finally paid off and 
discharged during the presidency of general Jackson; and the universal prosperity 
consequent upon the measures thus adopted, is now a subject of history. 

The legislature of New- York, as soon as the revolutionary conflict had ended, 
devoted itself to the duty of modifying the jurisprudence and civil polity of the 


State, in harmony with the principles of the constitution and the beneficent spirit 
of the age. Peter Van Schaack, an eminent lawyer, had been directed, in 1774, 
to revise the statute laws of the province, a task which he performed with ability 
and accuracy. 

It would be impossible, on this occasion, to review in detail the changes of 
municipal law which have been made ; changes so great as to have created a 
code as peculiarly distinct and national as the civil law or the common law of 
England. The entire criminal code has been revised and ameliorated, by the sub- 
stitution of a humane penitentiary system, with moral discipline and religious 
instruction established in lieu of a system which denounced the penalty of death 
for almost every form of municipal offence ; and the new system has been re- 
cently improved by establishing a separate institution for the reformation of 
female offenders, under the exclusive care of persons of their own sex. The 
relations of debtor and creditor have been modified, and while frauds and dis- 
honesty have been subjected to rightful punishment, the honest but unfortunate 
debtor is relieved from oppression. The relations of landlord and tenant have 
been divested of every remnant of feudal service, and conformed to the equal 
spirit of republican institutions. The laws concerning insane persons, copied 
from an Enghsh statute passed in the reign of queen Anne, by which those un- 
happy persons who were bereft of reason were classed with " vagrants and dis- 
orderly persons," and required to be imprisoned to protect society against their 
violence, have been modified ; and an institution has been erected in which they 
are cured of their mental and physical maladies, with all the aids which modern 
science has devised in that interesting department of the healing art. 

Preferences of primogeniture and of sex in regard to descents have been abo- 
lished, and judicious precautions have been adopted to prevent the too great ac- 
cumulation and too long duration of estates. The rights of married women have 
been enlarged. The alienation of land has been relieved from embarrassments 
and obstructions ; and the general registration of deeds and incumbrances has re- 
sulted in promoting the convenience of acquiring and the disposing of real estate. 


Joint tenancies have been changed into tenancies in common. Lands mortgaged 
for the payment of debts have been placed at the disposal of the mortgagee and 
executor. Obstructions in the way of executions upon property, have been re- 
moved. Technicalities in conveyances have been dispensed with. The intri- 
cate statutes in regard to uses and trusts, have been simplified. The system of 
pleadings and practice in courts of law and equity, has been rendered less 
tedious and expensive. 

Samuel Jones was distinguished as the prominent leader in these improve- 
ments in jurisprudence, and especially as the author of the statute for the amend- 
ment of the law and the better advancement of justice, and the laws relating to real 
estate. But there is one feature in this progress of improvement too prominent 
to be passed without more special notice. The first pubUc evidence that justice 
was awakened in regard to the bondage of the African race, was manifested in 
a law passed during the revolution, by which slaves were invited to enlist in the 
provincial forces, with the consent of their masters, under a promise of emanci- 
pation after the term of their military service. When the constitution of the 
United States was formed, enlightened men throughout the union could not close 
their eyes against the evils which must obviously flow from guaranteeing, in that 
instrument, the perpetual maintenance of slavery ; and while a portion of the 
states refused to enter the compact, except upon receiving concessions which they 
deemed sufficient to secure themselves against an early abolition of slavery by the 
power of the general government, this state, and others, refused to assent to a phra- 
seology which could be construed to forbid emancipation ; and all agreed to confer 
upon congress the right to inhibit the importation of slaves after the year 1808. 
The right of suffrage, under the first constitution of this state, was granted to free 
citizens, without distinction on the ground of color or descent. Mr. Jay was 
absent when the constitution prepared by him was adopted by the convention. 
In a letter addressed to two members of that body soon afterwards, Mr. Jay, 
after objecting to some features of the constitution, said, "the other parts I 
approve, and only regret that like a harvest cut before it was all ripe, some of 


the grains have shrunk. I should have been for a clause against the continuance 
of domestic slavery." In 1788, the legislature passed an act which struck at the 
foreign slave trade, but not at the existence of the institution of slavery itself 
This act declared " that if any person should sell, within this state, any negro or 
other person, who had been imported or brought into the state after the first of 
June, 1785, such seller should be deemed guilty of a pubhc offence, and the 
person so imported or sold should be reprieved." Having been elected to the 
office of governor in 1795, John Jay diligently prosecuted his philanthropic pur- 
pose of procuring the abolition of slavery. Unwilling to expose that measure to 
the spirit of party, he did not recommend it in his first speech, but it was intro- 
duced by one of his friends into the house of assembly. After a protracted 
discussion, the bill was defeated, and a resolution was passed " that it would be 
unjust to deprive any citizen of his property without a reasonable pecuniary 
compensation to be rendered at the expense of the state." The effort was re- 
newed in 1797, but was successfully resisted, and no vote was taken on the 
merits of the question. John Jay had long since declared, " that were he a mem- 
ber of the legislature, he would introduce a bill for the gradual abolition of 
slavery, and would never desist from urging its passage until it became a law, or 
he ceased to be a member." True to the principle thus avowed, he, in 1798, 
caused a bill to be introduced for the fourth, and, happily, for the last time. It 
was passed by majorities of ten in the senate and twenty-six in the assembly, and 
may be justly regarded as the crowning event of John Jay's administration. 
Slavery, however, still lingered, under some reservations contained in the law, 
until in March, 1817, during the administi-ation of Daniel D. Tompkins, the 
annihilation of this form of bondage was effectually secured by an act emancipating 
" every" negro, mulatto or mustee within the state, born before the fourth of July, 
1799. The new constitution of the state adopted in 1821 took a retrogade step 
in requiring of colored persons a property qualification of two hundred and fifty 
dollars as a condition of suffrage, while white citizens were allowed to vote with- 
out any such possessions. In 1840, with a view to the better protection of per- 


sons unlawfully claimed by virtue of the constitution of the United States as 
fugitives from service in other states, the legislature extended to those claimed 
as such fugitives the privilege of a jury to try the question of servitude. In 
1841, a law, which until then had been in force, permitting persons from other 
states, traveling within this state, to exercise rights as masters over slaves attend- 
ing them, for a period not exceeding nine months, was repealed ; and about the 
same time the executive authority decided that the state could not surrender, as 
a fugitive from justice, a person charged with stealing a slave as property ; be- 
cause this state could not admit that by the force of any human constitution or 
laws, one human being could become the property of another. 

Robert R. Livingston filled the office of chancellor from 1777 to 1801 ; John 
Lansing junior, from 1801 to 1814 ; James Kent, from the latter year to 1823 ; 
Nathan Sanford, from that period to 1826, when Samuel Jones was appointed, 
who, in 1828, gave place to Reuben H. Walworth, the present chancellor. 

The office of chief justice was, in 1777, assigned to John Jay, who was suc- 
ceeded in 1779 by Richard Morris, who performed its duties until 1790, when 
Robert Yates was appointed. His successor was John Lansing junior, who held 
the office from 1798 to 1801, when the office devolved upon Morgan Lewis, who 
was, in 1804, succeeded by James Kent, who being appointed chancellor in 
1814, resigned the office of chief justice, and was succeeded by Smith Thomp- 
son, afterwards secretary of the navy, and now one of the judges of the supreme 
court of the United States. Ambrose Spencer was appointed chief justice in 
1819, and in 1823 was succeeded by John Savage, who resigned in 1837, and 
Samuel Nelson, the present chief justice, was thereupon appointed. The fol- 
lowing persons have filled the offices of justices of the supreme court, and were 
appointed in the order in which they are named : Robert Yates, John Sloss Ho- 
bart, John Lansing junior, Morgan Lewis, Egbert Benson, James Kent, John 
Cozine, Jacob Radcliff, Brockholst Livingston, Smith Thompson, Ambrose Spen- 
cer, Daniel D. Tompkins, William W. Van Ness, Joseph C. Yates, Jonas Piatt, 


John Woodworth, Jacob Sutherland, William L. Marcy, Samuel Nelson, Greene 
C. Bronson and Esek Cowen. 

The office of attorney-general has successively devolved on Egbert Benson, 
Richard Varick, Aaron Burr, Morgan Lewis, Nathaniel Lawrence, Josiah Ogden 
Hoffman, Ambrose Spencer, John Woodworth, Matthias B. Hildreth, Abraham 
Van Vechten, Martin Van Buren, Thomas J. Oakley, Samuel A. Tallcott, 
Greene C. Bronson, Samuel Beardsley, Willis Hall and George P. Barker. 

While the legislature was busily engaged in modifying the municipal law, the 
higher courts were not less assiduous in expounding the new statutes. But the 
materials for wi-iting the judicial history of the state previously to 1805, are very 
scanty, and are chiefly traditionary. The practice in the supreme court was 
modeled after that of the king's bench in England, and its complexity and un- 
certainty rendered it difficult of attainment. Not only was the practice in the 
court of chancery more mysterious, but the principles of equity, and the rules 
controling their application, were to be learned by the few only who at that day 
had access to expensive English works. The science of the law at that early 
period was less understood than now, while its professors were held in high vene- 
ration, as the priests of mysteries too profound to be explored by common minds. 
In 1794, " A treatise on the practice of the supreme court of judicature of the 
state of New- York, in civil actions," was published " by William Wyche, of the 
Honorable Law Society of Grey's Inn, London, and citizen of the United States of 
America," and with the motto " Lex mundi harmonia." This little work was 
well executed, and there are yet some among us who found it useful in relieving 
them from the difficulties of separating what was applicable here from the intri- 
cate forms of practice in the English courts. 

William Coleman and George Caines, in 1794, commenced collecting reports 
of cases of practice in the supreme court, and published the results in 1805. 
George Caines also gathered notices of important cases adjudicated in the court 
for the correction of errors. The same author, in 1808, published a treatise on 
the practice of the supreme court. The occasional reports thus published, pre- 


pared the way for more regular and careful reports by William Johnson, of the 
decisions made in the three higher tribunals of the state. Those of the sujareme 
court, and court for the correction of errors, now fill fifty volumes, of which 
twenty were published by Mr. Johnson, nine by Esek Cowen, twenty by John 
L. Wendell, and one by Mr. Hill, the present reporter. 

Chancellor Kent introduced the system of reporting in the court of chancery, 
and we have now fifteen volumes of such reports, seven of which were prepared 
by William Johnson, one by Samuel Miles Hopkins, and seven by Alonzo C. 
Paige. These various re^iorts contain a large mass of adjudications on constitu- 
tional law and statutory enactments and the application of the common law, and 
principles of equity, to the multifarious questions of rights and duties arising in a 
rapidly increasing community ; and are held in the highest respect by the people 
of this state, and deemed a necessary part of the library of every lawyer in the 
United States. The talents and learning of judge Benson have always been held 
in high respect; but the honor of introducing method and order into our juris- 
prudence, and elucidating its principles and their application, rests chiefly with 
James Kent and Ambrose Spencer, and their associates on the bench of the su- 
preme court. Since their retirement from the judiciary, the responsibilities of 
judges have vastly increased in regard to the number of causes to be heard and 
adjudicated ; and although generally it is hazardous to speak of contemporaries, 
yet we may safely affirm that the courts have continued to maintain an eminent 
character for profound and varied learning. 

The names of some of our lawyers have been already mentioned. We may 
add those of Richard Harrison, Richard Varick, Thomas Addis Emmet, John 
Wells, John V. Henry, Elisha Williams, Abraham Van Vechten, Henry R. Storrs, 
Samuel Miles Hopkins, Thomas R. Gold, who are deeply lamented not -only 
as eminent lawyers, but as useful and honored citizens. Our contemporaries 
will perhaps allow us to add the names of some who, although living have with- 
drawn from the contests of the forum, and whose established fame is now the 


property of the bar of the state, such as Samuel Jones, Thomas J. Oakley, Mar- 
tin Van Buren, John Duer and John C. Spencer. 

Chancellor Kent retired from the arduous and honorable duties of the court 
of chancery, unwearied by judicial labors and unimpaired by age, although he 
had reached the climacteric at which the constitution declares an incumbent 
disqualified. He then employed himself in reducing to a system the confused 
mass of American jurisprudence, as it was found in the reports of the United 
States tribunals, and of the courts of more than twenty of the states. This 
great work he accomplished so successfully, that his commentaries have super- 
seded, as an elementary book, all other compilations, and is received with the 
respect due to authority throughout the union. Our law libraries are chiefly 
made up of English works, reprinted with notes of American decisions and statutes. 
There have been few original publications on elementary law, and the list of 
writers in the legal profession is by no means extensive. We have a profound 
and philosophical essay on the law of contracts by Gulian C. Verplanck, who 
has also distinguished himself by many elaborate opinions, delivered while he was 
a senator, in the court of errors ; a treatise on the constitution of the United 
States, by Alfred Conkling ; an essay on new trials, and a treatise on the prac- 
tice of the supreme court, by David Graham junior ; a manual of law for the 
use of business men, by Amos Dean ; " The office and duties of masters in chan- 
cery," and a treatise on the practice in chancery, by Murray Hoffman ; Blake's 
chancery practice; Dunlap's practice; and a work on the same subject, by Paris 
& Duel-. 

Leaving this imperfect notice of the bar and its learning, and returning to the 
subject of political science, we may mention "A sketch of the finances of the 
United States, by Albert Gallatin," published in 1796, which, on account of the 
general views it contains in respect to revenue and taxation, deserves to be classed 
among discussions in the science of political economy. The sketch referred to 
contained a very comprehensive and lucid view of the financial system of the 
United States, as put in operation after the organization of the government under 

Intr. 10 


the constitution. It did not merely set forth the actual condition of the finances, 
but was interspersed with much clear and forcible reasoning in relation to the 
wisdom of particular features of the revenue system, as it then existed. The 
subjects of taxation and public debt and their effects, the different species of 
revenue, and the expenditures of the government, were discussed by Mr. Gallatin 
with a degree of ability and acuteness, which indicated a familiar acquaintance 
with financial questions, and strong powers of reasoning. The work contained 
pointed objections to some of the early measures of the federal go^'ernment, 
which were recommended by general Hamilton, and particularly the assumption 
of the debts of the states by the general government ; but its tone throughout was 
calm, dignified and elevated. 

From its bearing upon one of the great questions of the day, viz. the extent to 
which protection to the manufacturing industry of the United States was neces- 
sary — the following position assumed by Mr. Gallatin is deemed worthy of 
notice : " As every further increase of population in many of the states dimi- 
nishes the relative quantity of land and of produce raised, and promotes the 
establishment of manufactures ; our exports of raw materials, our importations of 
those articles we can manufacture, and the revenue raised upon such articles, 
although all of them gradually augmenting, will, unless favored by accidental 
causes, increase in a ratio less than our population." He, however, maintained 
that for the purposes of revenue the impost should be the principal reliance of the 
country ; and that when this was carried as far as prudence would dictate, the 
great source of taxes upon consumption must be considered as nearly exhausted, 
and that the other great branch of revenue, lands, must be made to contribute 
by direct taxation. On the subject of public debt, and its effects, Mr. Gallatin's 
observations are able and philosophical. 

In the year 1826, a discourse was delivered at Schenectady, before the lite- 
rary societies of Union College, by Samuel Young, Esq. on the subject of political 
economy. It traced the rise and progress of the science through its various 
phases, from the commercial or mercantile theory, to the more orderly and ra- 


tional system introduced by Adam Smith. The discourse was written with 
purity and beauty of language, and illustrated with great clearness the received 
principles of the science. Mr. Young pointed out the evil effects of a public 
debt upon a community, and the indispensable duty of governments to practise 
the most rigid frugality and economy. He objected to usury laws as tending to 
promote the very evil they were designed to eradicate, and to eleemosynary esta- 
blishments, maintained at the public expense, as encouragements to pauperism. 
The general scope of Col. Young's address was in harmony with the principles 
stated by Adam Smith, though he conceded that, in the incipient stages of a do- 
mestic manufacture, it might need and properly receive the aid of government, 
being left, as soon as it had passed the precarious period of infancy, to that free 
competition and that keen sighted self-interest, which he believed to be the best 
regulators of human industry. 

An essay on credit, currency and banking, by Eleazer Lord, published in 
1834 ; a treatise on political economy, by the reverend Alonzo Potter ; and sug- 
gestions on the banks and the currency, published within the last year, by Albert 
Gallatin, deserve a place among the writings of citizens of New- York, in the 
department of political economy. These several works discuss questions which 
yet remain subjects of political controversy, and present the various arguments 
by which many conflicting opinions of the day are supported ; but all are distin- 
guished by the spirit of candid inquiry, or honest conviction.* 

The convention which assembled in 1821 to revise the constitution of the 
state, presented an occasion when many of the fundamental principles of the 
science of government before regarded as settled, were subjected to a close and 
searching examination. Rufus King, who had been long distinguished as a senator 
from this state in the senate of the United States, and as a representative of the 
United States at the court of St. James, expressed in an opening speech what 
were probably the prevalent feelings of the convention. "Although," said he, 

* Notes on the history of the science of political economy were received from the Honorable John A. Dix, and from 
Horace Gkeelev, Esq. 


" I fully concur in the fitness and expediency of this convention ; and although I 
am fully of o^iinion that the change of circumstances and political relations in 
our country have imperiously required the interjDosition of the people to revise 
the constitution, yet it is my hope that the convention may proceed with great 
caution and moderation. Not only," said he, " are the great principles of free 
government which arise from, and are sustained by, the intelligence and virtue 
of the people, denied by the great nations of the old world, but a contrary and 
most slavish doctrine is proclaimed and enforced by them ; a doctrine which 
falsely assumes that a select portion of mankind only are set apart by Providence, 
and made solely resjionsible for the government of mankind. In contradiction 
to this theory it is our bounden duty to make it manifest to all men, that a free 
people are cajjable of self-government ; that they can make, and abate, and re- 
make their constitution ; and that, at all times, our public liberties, when impaired, 
may be renovated, without destroying those securities which education and man- 
ners, our laws and constitutions, have provided." 

The governor, chancellor, chief justice and justices of the supreme court, 
under the old constitution, were a council to revise bills which passed both 
houses;, and bills which were returned with objections failed to become laws, 
unless they received the votes of two-thirds of the members. A committee pro- 
posed to abolish this part of the constitution, and to confide the revising power 
to the executive alone, but to retain the provision declaring that bills should 
become laws if passed by two-thirds of the members of both houses. The pro- 
position to abolish the council of revision was unanimously adopted. Ambrose 
Spencer, then chief justice, admitted the expediency of separating the judges 
from the legislative power, but opposed with zeal the vesting the power in the 
governor, unless he was made more independent of the legislature. Peter R. 
Livingston strenuously labored to obtain such a modification of the proposed 
amendment as would permit bills, returned with objections, to pass, if they should 
then receive the votes of two-thirds of the members elected to each house. 
Jonas Piatt, then a justice of the supreme court, and member of the council of 


revision, very earnestly insisted upon some more effective check on hasty and 
improper legislation than he thought would be secured by the veto of the governor 
dependent, (as it was supposed he would be,) on the legislature. Erastus Root 
opposed these views and supported the amendment, declaring, with his customary 
energy, that he deprecated the firmness which gre\v out of an independence of 
the popular voice to oppose the popular will. Chancellor Kent expressed his 
apprehension " that the sober minded people of the state would not be satisfied 
to see so important a column of the constitution destroyed, without having it 
replaced by something more efficient in its character, and useful in its operation," 
than the qualified veto which was proposed. James Tallmadge supported the 
proposition in a speech of great ability, and evincing deep research into the history 
of government. Daniel D. Tompkins, who was the president of the convention, 
approved the principle of a qualified negative upon legislation, but oj^posed the 
conferring that power upon the governor alone, and proposed to establish a 
council to consist of the governor, Keutenant-governor, and attorney-general and 
others. He also proposed to confine the powers of the governor's veto to cases 
in which unconstitutional laws were offered for his signature. Abraham Van 
Vechten, Samuel Young and John Duer, approved the plan proposed by the 
committee, and it was finally adopted. 

Under the former constitution, the pardoning power was vested in the governor, 
except in capital cases. That power was now conferred on the governor, with 
unlimited power to pardon in all cases excejit treason ; after a debate in which 
Mr, Tompkins, Ogden Edwards, David Buel junior, Samuel Nelson and Peter 
R. Livingston, endeavored to procure an amendment, by which the governor 
should be obliged to assign reasons for granting executive clemency ; which pro- 
position was opposed by Mr. Kent, Mr. Piatt and others, Mr. Root endeavored 
to retain the legislative power of pardon in capital cases. 

The power to prorogue the legislature, conferred by the old constitution, was 
abolished, on motion of Mr. Root; but the convention was at one time almost 
equally divided on the question. 


The term of the executive office, under the old constitution, was three years. 
It was now reduced to two ; thirty-one members voting in favor of continuing 
the term three years ; sixty-one voting to fix the term at two years, and fifty- 
nine for reducing it to one year. 

Mr. Root made an unsuccessful effort to procure a provision in the constitution, 
inhibiting courts from granting new trials, after two verdicts had been rendered. 
Mr. Duer made a like effort to incorporate in the constitution an article, declar- 
ing that indictments should not be found for what was resolved in meetintrs of the 
people, peaceably convened to consider the action of the government. 

The debates in the convention disclosed the fact, that there were three opinions 
among its members on the question of suffrage. One of them contemplated re- 
taining the qualification of a freehold, valued at two hundred and fifty dollars, as 
a condition of suffrage for senators. Nineteen members voted for this proposition, 
viz. Messrs. Bacon, Fish, Hees, Hunter, Huntington, Jay, Jones, Piatt, Rhinelan- 
der, Rose, Sanders, I. Smith, Spencer, Sylvester, Van Home, Van Ness, Van 
Vechten, E. Williams and Woods. A second opinion was favorable to universal 
suffrage by white persons. This opinion was supported by Mr. Root, Mr. Tomp- 
kins, Mr. Radcliff and Mr. Young. The third opinion was conservative and mid- 
way between the extremes ; and it was supported by Mr. Van Buren, King, 
Sutherland, Duer, Nelson and Nathan Williams. The result was a compromise 
between these conflicting opinions. But so strong was the popular sentiment in 
favor of universal suffrage, that the constitution was amended five years after- 
wards, so as to dispense with all other restrictions than those which are specified 
in our synopsis of that instrument.* The exclusion of colored persons from suf- 
frage, unless they had freeholds valued at two hundred and fifty dollars, was 
carried by a vote of seventy-one to thirty-three, and was based upon the ground 
that the African race were in a condition of hopeless degradation and ignoi-ance. 
The proposition Avas opposed with great zeal and ability by Peter A. Jay. 

♦ Hammond's History. 


One of the chief causes of discontent under the old constitution, was the man- 
ner in which the appointing power had been exercised by the council of appoint- 
ment, which consisted of the governor and four senators chosen by the assembly. 
The council was abolished with great unanimity, many offices were rendered 
elective, and the power to fill others was distributed among several departments 
and functionaries, without important division among the members as to the prin- 
ciples of distribution. 

It would be inconvenient to extend our notice of the convention. What has 
been written, will, perhaps, be sufficient to show the spirit which prevailed in its 
deliberations, and to indicate some of the members who were influential in giving 
direction to its measures. 

The year 1825 was signalized by the commencement of an undertaking which 
marks an era in the jurisprudence of the state. An act was passed, directing that 
all the existing statute laws should be revised and reduced into the form of a 
code, to be submitted to the legislature for review. This important duty was 
confided to John Duer, Benjamin F. Butler and Henry Wheaton. Mr. Wheaton 
resigned the trust, and his place was filled by John C. Spencer. The gentlemen 
thus constituting the commission, were three years engaged in performing its 
duties ; and the legislature, on receiving their reports from time to time, passed 
upon the same, until in January, 1829, a perfect code was completed in four 
parts, as follows : Part I. Concerning the territorial limits and divisions, the civil 
polity, and the internal administration of the state ; Part II. Concerning the ac- 
quisition, the enjoyment, and the transmission of real and personal property, the 
domestic relations, and other matters connected with private rights ; Part III. 
Concerning courts, and ministers of justice, and proceedings in civil cases; and 
Part IV. Concerning crimes and punishments, proceedings in criminal cases and 
prison discipline. The execution of this intricate and extensive work, has been 
regarded by many enlightened men as a great advance towards the establishment 
of an unique and complete code. But the public mind is not now engaged in 
considering the practicability or expediency of such a measure. 


The geographical position of the United States, and our principles of govern- 
ment, are alike unfavorable to conquest and military ambition. The popular 
mind has its action, therefore, directed towards physical improvement and the 
melioration of the condition of society ; and in this state it has been especially 
engaged in improving those interior communications necessary to the mainte- 
nance of intimate political and social relations, the exchange of supplies, and pro- 
vision for the public defence. 

The destiny of our country seems to have been opened to the mind of Wa- 
shington, with a clearness almost equal to that with which the varied career of 
the chosen people was revealed to their prophetic leader on the sublime occasion 
when he was required to resign the trust he had so long faithfully discharged. 
Washin.Q-ton saw, that although the settlements of the United States had been 
clustering on the Atlantic coast during almost two centuries, yet the region, far 
more extensive, fertile and salubrious, which lay beyond the proper borders of the 
thirteen states, would become the home of the larger portion of the American 
family ; and that if the natural barriers between that region and the east should 
remain unchanged, the west would, at no distant period, refuse political connec- 
tion with the maritime states ; but that if those barriei's could be surmounted by 
roads, and pierced by canals, connecting the inland lakes and rivers with tide 
water, the wealth and population of the whole country would be vastly increased ; 
ample provision would be made for defending every part of our extended bor- 
ders ; and the states, new and old, would be bound " in an indissoluble union of 
interest and affection." In 1783, when he had jiroceeded up the difficult navi- 
gation of the Mohawk to Fort Stanwix, now the site of the village of Rome, and 
had crossed to Wood creek, which flows into Oneida lake, and thence had 
descended to the sources in this state of the Susquehannah, he gave exjDression to 
this glowing thought : " Taking a contemplative and extensive view of the vast 
inland navigation of the United States, I could not but be struck with the im- 
mense diffusion and importance of it, and with the goodness of that Providence 


who has dealt his favors to us with so profuse a hand. Would to God we may 
have wisdom to improve them !"* 

Ideas like these soon afterwards engaged the attention of philosophic minds 
throughout the states, and it was perceived that in thus improving the inland 
navigation of the continent, the route for a communication between the inland 
waters and the sea, which should secure to itself the trade of the valley between 
the Allegany mountains and the Mississippi, would become an object of zealous 

The ocean, receiving homage through the valleys of the Mississippi and Ohio, 
the Potomac, the Susquehannah, the Delaware, the Hudson and the St. Law- 
rence, seemed to invite through those various channels the accomplishment of the 
stupendous project. 

By removing obstructions to the navigable flow of the continuous waters of 
the great lakes and of the St. Lawrence, ship navigation might be grasped six 
hundred miles up that river, and extended around the Falls of Niagara into the 
waters of Lake Erie. 

Citizens of Pennsylvania proposed to accomplish the same great purpose, by 
alternative land and water communications, surmounting the Alleganies, and em- 
ploying in the transit between the Delaware and the lakes the waters of the 
Susquehannah and the Allegany. 

The project of Maryland comprehended a diversion of trade from the Penn- 
sylvania route at Pittsburgh, and a passage to tide water through the Potomac. 

The comprehensive sagacity of Washington, as early as 1784, marked out a 
plan for securing to Virginia the trade of the i"egions in the vicinity of the lakes. 
by connecting the navigable waters of James river by portages, or other commu- 
nications, with those of the Kenhawa, the Muskingum, and the rivers flowing 

into lake Erie.f 

The Mississippi offered an easy descending navigation almost from the shores 
of the lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. But the keys of the St. Lawrence and the 

♦Washington's letter to the Marquis of Chastellux. t WAsmNOTON's letter to Governor Harrison. 

Intr. 11 


Mississippi, which were the most obvious channels, were held by foreign powers; 
and neither their enterprise nor the condition of their colonies favored the spirit 
of competition which had been awakened in the new republic. 

New- York furnished a navigation through the Hudson, one hundred and 
eighty miles from tide water, and facilities for constructing a continuous channel 
for inland navigation across an almost level isthmus, which separated the great 
eastern lakes from the valley through which that river poured its deep and 
ample volume into the ocean ; an isthmus, which in its various width no where 
exceeded three hundred and sixty miles. 

The proximity of the great lakes to the valley of the Hudson, was understood 
at a very early period. Governor Burnet, in 1720, found the Six Nations receiv- 
ing from French traders by the way of Montreal, merchandise which had been 
carried there from Albany. The friendship of the Indians naturally followed 
this commerce. Burnet, with a view to detach the Iroquois from the French 
interest, caused a fort to be erected at Oswego, and trading houses to be built at 
the mouth of the Oswego river, " on account of its water communications, and" 
for the facility of transportation between the lakes and Schenectady, there being 
but three portages in the whole route, and two of them very short."* Dr. Cadwal- 
lader Golden, then surveyor-general of the province, addressed to governor Bur- 
net a memoir on the fur trade, which contained an account of the western rivers, 
portages and lakes, and in which we find this very bold suggestion : " If one con- 
siders the great length of the river (the Mississippi), and its numerous branches, 
he must say, that by means of the river and the lakes, there is opened to his view 
such a scene of inland navigation as cannot he paralleled in any part of the 
world."t Kalm and Garver, early European travellers, were struck with the 
same peculiar features of our territory. Sir Henry Moore, governor in 1768, in 
a speech to the provincial assembly, noticed the difficulties of trade with the Iro- 
quois, in consequence of the obstructions in the navigation between Schenectady 

• DoNLiP. + C. D. Colden's Memoir of N. Y. Canals. 


and Fort Stanwix, " occasioned by the falls of Canajoliarie," under which de- 
scription was undoubtedly meant the rapids at Little Falls ; and he suggested 
that " the obstructions could easily be obviated by the use of sluices upon the 
plan of the great canal of Languedoc." 

In 1784, Christopher Colics, of New- York, submitted to the legislature pro- 
posals for removing obstructions to the navigation of the Mohawk river, so that 
boats of burthen might pass the same. That body mingled considerations of eco- 
nomy with those of enterprise in their views of the subject, and offered to secure 
to the projector and his associates, the perpetual profits to be derived from the 
navigation of the river, if improved by them. At the next session the legislature 
granted to Mr. Colles one hundred and twenty-five dollars, to enable him to pro- 
secute his examination of the river. He appeared again before that body, and 
before the public, with a proposition to form an association to improve the inland 
navigation between Oswego and Albany ; and the publication is said to have ex- 
hibited good foresight of the advantages which would result from the proposed 
connection, as well as a right understanding of the facility with which it could 
be accomplished. But no public action crowned his labors. The plan he pro- 
posed was thought quite too visionary. He died in obscurity, and was interred 
in " the burying ground of strangers," about 1820, while the project he had pro- 
mulgated was, on a vastly more extended scale, proceeding to its consummation.* 

George Clinton, governor, in 1791, stated to the legislature that the frontier 
settlements, freed from apprehensions of danger, were rapidly increasing, and 
must soon yield extensive resources for profitable commerce, and that this con- 
sideration forcibly recommended the policy of continuing to facilitate the means 
of communication wdth them, as well to strengthen the bands of society, as to 
prevent the produce of those fertile districts from being diverted to other mar- 
kets. The senate and assembly thereupon appointed a committee to inquire 
what obstructions in the Hudson and Mohawk rivers ought to be removed. The 

* C. D. Colden's Memoirs. 


committee, consisting of Ezra L'Hommedieu, John Cantine, Philip Schuyler and 
Alexander Webster, of the senate ; James Livingston, Jonathan Brown, Jacob 
Delamater, John D. Coe, Zina Hitchcock, Samuel L. Mitchill and John Smith, 
of the assembly, reported a bill, entitled " An act concerning roads and inland 
navigation," vv^hich became a law, and which directed the commissioners of the 
land-office to cause the country to be explored, between Fort Stanwix and Wood 
creek, in Herkimer county, and a similar survey to be made between the Hudson 
and Wood creek, in Washington county. The law further directed the commis- 
sioners to make an estimate of the expense of constructing canals on those routes. 
The commissioners submitted a favorable report, and governor Clinton, at the next 
session, commended the subject earnestly to the consideration of the legislature. 
Thereupon a law was passed, entitled " An act for establishing and opening lock 
navigation within this state." The act commenced with the terse recital " Where- 
as a communication by water between the southern, northern and western parts 
of this state will encourage agriculture, promote commerce and facilitate a gene- 
ral intercourse between the citizens ;" and provided for the incorporation of two 
associations, the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, and the Northern 
Inland Lock Navigation Company. The purpose of the western company was 
to open a lock navigation from the Hudson river to Lake Ontario and the Seneca 
lake ; and that of the northern company was to connect the same river with 
Lake Champlain. The act ajapointed as directors in the two companies, Philip 
Schuyler, Leonard Gansevoort, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Elkanah Watson, 
John Tayler, Jellis A. Fonda, William North, Goldsbrow Banyar, Daniel Hale, 
John Watts, Walter Livingston, Dominick Lynch, James Watson, Matthew 
Clarkson, Ezx-a L'Hommedieu, Melancton Smith, David Gelston, Stephen Lush, 
Cornelius Glen, Silas Talbot, John Frey, Douw Fonda, John Sanders, Nicholas J. 
Roosevelt, Daniel McCormick, Marinus Willet, Jonathan Lawrence, Philip Van 
Cortlandt, James Clinton, Abraham Ten Broeck, John Williams, Stephen Van 
Rensselaer, Jacobus Van Schoonhoven, John Van Rensselaer, Abraham G. Lan- 
sing, Henry Quackenbush, Robert R. Livingston, Philip Livingston, James Duane, 


Alexander Macomb, Samuel Jones, Nicholas Low, Dirck Lefferts, William Duer, 
Barent Bleecker, Henry Livingston, Peter Gansevoort, Peter B. Tearce, Alex- 
ander Webster, George Ray, Thomas Tillotson, Matthew Scott, Zephaniah Piatt, 
John Thurman, Albert Pawling and Zina Hitchcock. Out of this array of names 
<;ombining so large a representation of the talents, learning, patriotism, enterprise, 
political influence and wealth of this state, it is not invidious to select that of 
Philip Schuyler, who, now enjoying well earned military fame, exhibited the most 
untiring devotion to the physical improvement of his country. The capital stock 
of both the companies was $50,000, a sum so small as to show a very inadequate 
estimate of the difficulties of the comprehensive scheme which was then sha- 
dowed forth. 

The art of constructing canals was little understood, and the topography of the 
counti-y was not accurately ascertained. The enterprise of the western com- 
pany fell into discredit. Many of the stockholders forfeited their shares, but a 
lew, more persevering, prosecuted the undertaking, and established an imperfect 
canal a little less than three miles long, with five locks, around the Little Falls ; 
a canal of one and a quarter miles, at the German flats ; a canal one mile and 
three-fourths, from the Mohawk to Wood creek, and several wooden locks on that 
stream. So defective were these works, that they were twice reconstructed 
during the short period which intervened before the commencement of the Erie 
canal; and yet so costly, that the company expended four hundred thousand dol- 
lars in opening a passage for loaded boats of small burthen, from Schenectady to 
the Oneida lake. Although steadily favored by the legislature with loans and 
subscriptions of stock, the company, becoming discouraged and exhausted, rehn- 
quished the design of extending their navigation to Lake Ontario. In 1798, an 
association was incorporated to construct a canal around the Falls of Niagara, on 
an application by James Watson, Charles Wilhamson, John Williams, Efilngham 
Embree and their associates ; but the law was not executed. The Northern 
Inland Lock Navigation Company, after a brief effort to procure subscriptions, 
abandoned the enterprise with which that association had been charged. 


During several years after the western company had commenced its improve- 
ments, charters were granted to associations which proposed to remove obstruc- 
tions in the St. Lawrence, the Seneca and other rivers; but none of those com- 
panies achieved any effective improvement, except the Seneca Lock Navigation 
Company, which made an imperfect navigation between the Oswego river and 
the Cayuga and Seneca lakes. 

To Gouverneur Morris, history will assign the merit of first suggesting a direct 
and continuous communication from Lake Erie to the Hudson. In 1800, he an- 
nounced this idea from the shore of the Niagara river to a friend in Europe, in 
the following enthusiastic language : " Hundreds of large ships will, in no distant 
period, bound on the billows of these inland seas. Shall I lead your astonishment 
to the verge of incredulity l I will. Know then that one-tenth part of the ex- 
pense borne by Britain in the last campaign, would enable ships to sail from 
London through the Hudson river into Lake Erie. As yet we only crawl along 
the outer shell of our countiy. The interior excels the part we inhabit in soil, in 
climate, in every thing. The proudest empire of Europe is but a bauble com- 
pared to what America may be, must be."* The praise awarded to Gouverneur 
Morris, must be qualified by the fact, that the scheme he conceived was that of a 
canal with an uniform declination, and without locks, from Lake Erie to the 
Hudson.f Morris communicated his project to Simeon De Witt in 1803, by 
whom it was made known to James Geddes in 1804. It afterwards became the 
subject of conversation between Mr. Geddes and Jesse Hawley, and this commu- 
nication is supposed to have given rise to the series of essays written by Mr. 
Hawley, under the signature of Hercules, in the Genesee Messenger, continued 
from October, 1807, until March, 1808, and which first brought the public mind 
into familiarity with the subject.f These essays, written in a jail, were the 
grateful return, by a patriot, to a country which punished him with imprisonment 
for being unable to pay debts owed to another citizen, and displayed deep re- 

* Elsanah Watson's History of the Canals. t Colden's Memoirs. t Letter of Simeon De Witt. 


search, with singular vigor and comprehensiveness of thought, and traced with 
prophetic accuracy a large portion of the outline of the Erie canal.* 

In 1807, Albert Gallatin, then secretary of the treasury, in pursuance of a 
recommendation made by Thomas Jefferson, president of the United States, 
repoited a plan for appropriating all the surplus revenues of the general govern- 
ment to the construction of canals and turnpike roads ; and it embraced in one 
grand and comprehensive view, nearly without exception, all the works which 
have since been executed or attempted by the several states in the union. This 
bold and statesmanlike, though premature, conception of that eminent citizen, 
will remain the greatest among the many monuments of his forecast and wisdom. 

In 1808, Joshua Forman, a representative in the assembly from Onondaga county, 
submitted his memorable resolution, " Whereas the president of the United 
States did, by his message to congress, delivered at their meeting in October last, 
recommend that the surplus moneys in the treasury, over and above such sums 
as could be applied to the extinguishment of the national debt, be appropriated 
to the great national project of opening canals and making turnpike roads : And 
whereas the state of New- York, holding the first commercial rank in the United 
States, possesses within herself the best mode of communication between the 
Atlantic and western waters, by means of a canal between the tide waters of the 
Hudson river and Lake Erie, through which the wealth and trade of that large 
portion of the union, bordering on the upper lakes, would forever flow to our 
great commercial emporium : And whereas the legislatures of several of our 
sister states have made great exertions to secure to their own states the trade of that 
widely extended country west of the Allegany, under natural advantages vastly 
inferior to those of this state : And whereas it is highly important that those advan- 
tages should as speedily as possible be improved, both to preserve and increase 
the commercial and national importance of this state : Therefore, resolved, if the 
honorable the senate concur herein, that a joint committee be appointed to take 

* Jesse Hawley lived to see the Erie canal completed, and two-thirds of it reconstructed and enlarged. He died in 


into consideration the propriety of exploring and causing an accurate survey to 
be made of the most eligible and direct route for a canal, to open a communica- 
tion between the tide waters of the Hudson river and Lake Erie, to the end 
that congress may be enabled to appropriate such sums as may be necessary to 
the accomplishment of that great national object." 

This resolution was adopted, and John Tayler, John Nicholas and Jonathan 
Ward, on the part of the senate, and Thomas R. Gold, William W. Gilbert, 
Obadiah German and James L. Hogeboom, on the part of the assembly, consti- 
tuted the committee. 

Mr. Gold submitted a report, not less eloquent in language than elevated in 
sentiment, in which he stated, that while the subject presented to the government 
of the United States, in removing natural barriers, and drawing together and 
preserving in political concord the distant jiarts of a widely extended empire : 
an object inviting to patriotism, and interesting to its reputation, the commercial 
interests of this state impelled to the most strenuous efforts in promoting the same 
object. That in tracing the vestiges of ancient states, in whose councils munifi- 
cence, guided by wisdom, presided, the remains of commercial improvement in 
public canals, and other undertakings, marked the advanced state of society, and 
attested the empire of the arts of peace ; that while military achievement had 
shed lustre on nations, works of public utility, tending to the happiness and wel- 
fare of society, recorded the exercise of superior virtues, and afforded better 
monuments of true and lasting glory ; that with these sentiments the citizens of 
this state had witnessed with high satisfaction the conduct of the executive of 
the United States, in recommending an appropriation of a portion of the surplus 
revenue for improving, by canals, the inland navigation of the country ; and that 
while this state would forbear to derogate from the claims of others, she felt 
warranted in presenting to the government of the Union, her own territory, as 
preeminently distinguished for commercial advantages. 

In pursuance of a recommendation by the committee, a resolution unanimously 
passed both houses, directing the sui-veyor-general, Simeon De Witt, to cause an 


accurate survey to be made of the various routes proposed for the contemplated 
communication. But how httle the magnitude of that undertaking was under- 
stood, may be inferred from the fact that the appropriation made by the resolu- 
tion to defray the expenses of its execution, was limited to the sum of six hun- 
dred dollars. 

There was then no civil engineer in the state. James Geddes, a land surveyor, 
who afterwards became one of our most distinguished engineers, by the force of 
native genius and application in mature years, levelled and surveyed under in- 
structions from the surveyor-general, with a view to ascertain, first, whether a 
canal could be made from the Oneida lake to Lake Ontario, at the mouth of 
Salmon creek ; secondly, whether a navigation could be opened from the Oswego 
falls to Lake Ontario, along the Oswego river ; thirdly, what was the best route 
for a canal from above the Falls of Niagara to Lewiston ; and fourthly, what 
was the most direct route, and what the practicability of a canal from Lake Erie 
to the Genesee river, and thence to the waters running east to the Seneca river. 
The topography of the country between the Seneca river and the Hudson, was 
at that time comparatively better known. Mr. Geddes' report showed that a 
canal from Lake Erie to the Hudson was practicable, and could be made with- 
out serious difficulty. In 1810, on motion of Jonas Piatt, of the senate, who 
was distinguished throughout a pure and well spent life, by his zealous efforts to 
promote this great undertaking, Gouverneur Morris, De Witt Clinton, Stephen 
Van Rensselaer, Simeon De Witt, William North, Thomas Eddy and Peter B. 
Porter, were appointed commissioners " to explore the whole route for inland 
navigation from the Hudson river to Lake Ontario, and to Lake Erie." Cad- 
wallader D. Golden, a contemporary historian, himself one of the earliest and 
ablest advocates of the canals, awards to Thomas Eddy the merit of having 
suggested this motion to Mr. Piatt, and to both these gentlemen that of engaging 
De Witt Clinton's support, he being at that time a member of the senate.* 

• Colden's Memoir. 

Intr. 12 


Another writer* commemorates the efficient and enlightened exertions, at this 
period, of Hugh WilUamson, who wrote with reference to the contemplated 
improvement, papers, entitled " Observations on Navigable Canals," and also 
" Observations on the Means of Preserving the Commerce of New- York," which 
were published in magazines of that day. The canal policy found, at the same 
time, earnest and vigorous supporters in the American and Philosophical Regis- 
ter, edited by Dr. David Hosack and Dr. John W. Francis. 

The commissioners, in March, 1811, submitted their report written by Gou- 
verneur Morris, in which they showed the practicability and advantages of a 
continuous canal from Lake Erie to the Hudson, and stated their estimate of 
the cost at five millions of dollars, a sum which they ventured to predict would 
not exceed five per cent of the value of the commodities which, within a cen- 
tury, would be annually transported on the proposed canal. We may pause 
here to remark, that the annual value of the commodities carried on the canals, 
instead of requiring a century to attain the sum of one hundred millions, reached 
that limit in twenty-five years. " By whom," added the commissioners, " shall 
the needful expense of the construction of the work be supported ? We take 
the liberty of entering our feeble protest against a grant to private persons or 
companies. Too great a national interest is at stake. It must not become the 
subject of a job or a fund for speculation. Among many other objections there 
is one insuperable, that it would defeat the contemplated cheapness of transpor- 
tation. ***** It remains to determine whether the canal shall be at 
the cost of the state or of the union. If the state were not bound by the federal 
band with her sister states, she might fairly ask compensation from those who 
own the soil along the great lakes, for giving permission to cut the canal at their 
expense ; or her statesmen might deem it still more advisable to make the canal 
at her own expense, and take for the use of it a transit duty, raising or lowering 
the impost, as circumstances might direct, for her own advantage. This might 

• Dr. Hosack. 


be the better course if the state stood alone, but fortunately for the peace and 
happiness of all, this is not the case. We are connected by a bond which, if the 
prayers of good men are favorably heard, will be indissoluble. It becomes 
proper, therefore, to resort for the solution of the present question to the princi- 
ples of distributive justice. That which presents itself is the trite adage, that 
those who participate in the benefit should contribute to the expense. The com- 
missioners presume not to go one step farther. The wisdom, as well as the jus- 
tice, of the national legislature, will no doubt lead to the exercise, on their part, 
of prudent munificence ; but the proportion, the condition, the compact, in short, 
must be the subject of treaty." 

On the presentation of this report, De Witt Clinton introduced a bill, which 
became a law on the 8th of April, 1811, under the title of " An act to provide 
for the improvement of the internal navigation of this state." This law began 
with the expressive recital, that " Whereas, a communication by means of a canal 
navigation between the great lakes and Hudson's river, will encourage agricul- 
ture, promote commerce and manufactures, facilitate a free and general inter- 
course between different parts of the United States, and tend to the aggrandize- 
ment and prosperity of the country, and consolidate and strengthen the union;" 
and added Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton to the board of commis- 
sioners, and authorized them to consider all matters relating to such inland navi- 
gation, with powers to make application in behalf of the state to congress, or to 
any state or territory, to cooperate and aid in the undertaking, and to ascertain 
whether loans could be procured on advantageous terms on the credit of the 
state, for the purpose of constructing the canal, and the terms on which the 
Western Inland Lock Navigation Company would surrender their rights and 

Two of the commissioners, Mr. Morris and Mr. Clinton, repaired to the fede- 
ral capital, and submitted the subject to the consideration of the president (Mr. 
Madison) and of congress. In 1812, the commissioners reported that, although 
it was uncertain whether the national government would do any thing, it cer- 


tainly would do nothing which would afford immediate aid to the enterprise ; 
that Tennessee had instructed her representatives in congress to support any 
laudable application for aid in relation to the canal navigation between Hudson's 
river and the great lakes ; that New-Jersey had declined to render assistance, 
because she had not sufficient means to complete her own plans of improvement 
already projected ; that Connecticut, for the reasons that she could not supply 
money, and that she reposed full confidence in the wisdom of her representatives 
in congress, deemed it inexpedient to take any measures on the subject ; that 
Massachusetts, in language characteristic of the impartial and dignified vnsdom 
of conscious greatness, had instructed her representatives to use their influence 
in favor of the application of New- York; that Ohio fully approved the plan, 
while the youthful territory of Michigan (looking probably down the St. Law- 
rence, as well as across to the Hudson) was of the opinion that the proposed 
communication was not so desirable as a canal around the cataracts of Niagara, 
and another passing the falls of Oswego. 

The commissioners then submitted that, having offered the canal to the national 
government, and that offer having virtually been declined, the state was now at 
liberty to consult and pursue the maxims of policy, and these seemed to demand 
imperatively that the canal should be made by herself, and for her own account, 
as soon as the circumstances would permit ; and that, whether the subject was 
considered with a view to commerce and finance, or on the more extensive scale 
of policy, there would be a want of wisdom, and almost of piety, in neglecting to 
employ for public advantage, those means which Divine Pi-ovidence had placed 
so completely within her power. They estimated the ultimate income of the 
canal at one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ; a revenue adequate 
to defray the cost of the enterprise. With the earnestness so characteristic of 
Mr. Morris, the report proceeds : " Things which twenty years ago a man would 
have been laughed at for believing, we now see. At that time the most ardent 
mind, proceeding on established facts by the unerring rules of arithmetic, was 
obliged to drop the pen at results which imagination could not embrace. Under 


circumstances of" this sort, there can be no doubt that those microcosmic minds 
which, habitually occupied in the consideration of what is little, are incapable 
of discerning what is great, and who already stigmatize the proposed canal as a 
romantic scheme, will not unsparingly distribute the epithets, absurd, ridiculous, 
chimerical, on the estimate of what it may produce. The commissioners must, 
nevertheless, have the hardihood to brave the sneers and sarcasms of men, who, 
with too much pride to study, and too much wit to think, undervalue what they 
do not understand, and condemn what they cannot comprehend." The com- 
missioners, imbued with the spirit of philosophic prophecy, add, " The life of an 
individual is short. The time is not distant, when those who make this report 
will have passed away. But no term is fixed to the existence of a state ; and 
the first wish of a patriot's heart is, that his own may be immortal. But, what- 
ever limit may have been assigned to the duration of New- York, by those eternal 
decrees which established the heavens and the earth, it is hardly to be expected 
that she will be blotted from the list of political societies before the effects here 
stated, shall have been sensibly felt. And even when, by the flow of that perpetual 
stream which bears all human institutions away, our constitution shall be dissolved 
and our laws be lost, still the descendants of our children's children will remain. 
The same mountains will stand, the same rivers run. New moral combinations 
will be formed on the old physical foundations, and the extended line of remote 
posterity, after a lapse of two thousand years, and the ravage of repeated revolu- 
tions, when the records of history shall have been obliterated, and the tongue of 
tradition have converted (as in China) the shadowy remembrance of ancient 
events into childish tales of miracle, this national work shall remain, bearing tes- 
timony to the genius, the learning, the industry and intelligence of the present 


Passing the advantages which the state must derive from opening a scene so 
vast to the incessant activity of her citizens, the commissioners discussed and 
proved her fiscal ability to complete the enterprise. Impressed with the same 
expansive views which were exhibited in the first efforts of the legislature in 


1792, the commissioners adverted to the proposed connection of Lake Cham- 
plain with the Hudson river, as one which would certainly tend to preserve bro- 
therly affection in the great American family, and through the reciprocal advan- 
tages it would afford to New-York and Vermont, would strengthen the bonds of 
our union with the eastern states. 

On the nineteenth of June, 1812, a law was enacted, reappointing the com- 
missioners, and authorizing them to borrow money and deposit it in the treasury, 
and to take cessions of land, but prohibiting any measures to construct the canals. 

In the senate, James W. Wilkin, of Orange county, moved to reject the bill. 
The motion was lost, fifteen to eleven. The assembly divided on the first section, 
which contained the principle of the bill, and it was sustained by a vote of fifty- 
one to forty-two. On its being returned to the senate, with an amendment, 
Erastus Root, of Delaware, moved to postpone the consideration of the amend- 
ment until the next session, which would have been equivalent to rejecting the 
bill. This motion received thirteen votes, while sixteen were recorded against it 

From 1812 to 1815, the country suffered the calamities of war, and projects 
of internal improvement necessarily gave place to the patriotic efforts required 
to maintain the national security and honor. But those plans were not altogether 
forgotten, at least by those who distrusted their wisdom. Although there was 
much incredulity in regard to the Erie canal, during all the period which we 
have been considering, yet the design met little or no opposition, so long as it was 
supposed that the necessary expenditures would be made by the federal govern- 
ment. But a severe scrutiny was encountered, when it was avowed that the 
means for accomplishing so large a work must be derived from taxation, or from 
the use of the public ci-edit. Erastus Root, in 1813, submitted a resolution, by 
which the commissioners were to be called upon for a further report of their 
proceedings. The commissioners, in their report in 1814, reilfhrmed their con- 
fidence in the feasibility of the enterprise, and adverted to the facilities which 
would be found for extending the communication to the valleys watered by the 
Susquehannah and its branches, whence they inferred that Pennsylvania would, 


at a proper time, cooperate in the enterprise. The commissioners also announced 
that grants of land would be made by the Holland Company of 100,632 acres ; 
by Le Roy Bayard and McEvers, 2,500 acres ; by the heirs of the Pulteney 
estate, a large tract, and by governor Hornby, 3,500 acres. These cessions were 
ultimately realized, with a liberal donation from Gideon Granger. 

Mr. Root introduced a bill into the senate which two days afterwards passed 
that body, repealing so much of the act then in force as authorized the commis- 
sioners to borrow five millions of dollars. This repeal was a virtual abandon- 
ment of the policy of internal improvements. The divisions in the assembly 
show a majority of eighteen in favor of the repeal ; and in the senate the majority 
was eight. In 1816, after the close of the war, Daniel D. Tompkins, governor, 
in his annual speech, submitted for the consideration of the legislature, the expe- 
diency of prosecuting the canals. Citizens in various parts of the state, and 
especially in New- York, Albany and Troy, and in the towns and counties situ- 
ated in the vicinity of the proposed routes, now earnestly applied for vigorous 
measures to accomplish the objects so long delayed. Among these petitions was 
a memorial by inhabitants of the city of New- York, from the pen of De Witt 

The memorialists declared, that since the object was connected with the essen- 
tial interests of the country, and calculated in its commencement to reflect honor 
en the state, and in its completion to exalt it to an elevation of unparalleled pros- 
perity, they were fully persuaded that centuries might pass away before a subject 
would be again presented so worthy of all the attention of the legislature, and so 
deserving of all its patronage and support — that the improvement of intercourse 
between different parts of the same country, had always been considered the first 
duty, and the most noble employment of government — that canals united cheap- 
ness, celerity, certainty and safety in the transportation of commodities — that they 
operated upon the general interests of society, in the same way as machines for 
saving labor in manufactures ; and as to all the purposes of beneficial communi- 
cation, they diminished the distances between places, and therefore encouraged 


the cultivation of the most remote parts of the country — that they created new 
sources of internal trade, and augmented the old channels, thus tending to en- 
large old and erect new towns, increase individual and aggregate wealth, and 
extend foreign commerce. The memorialists attributed the prosperity of ancient 
Egypt and China to their inland navigation, and expressed the opinion that 
England and Holland, if deprived of their canals, would lose the most prolific 
sources of their prosperity and greatness. Inland navigation, they said, was to 
the same community what exterior navigation was to the great family of man- 
kind ; and that as the ocean connected the nations of the earth by the ties of 
commerce and the benefits of communication, so did lakes, rivers and canals 
operate upon the inhabitants of the same country. Applying these general argu- 
ments in favor of inland navigation, they showed that a great chain of mountains 
passed through the territory of the United States, and divided it into eastern and 
western America ; that the former, on account of the priority of its settlement, its 
vicinity to the ocean, and its favorable position for commerce, had many advantages, 
while the latter had a decided superiority in the fertility of its soil, the benignity 
of its climate, and the extent of its territory ; that to connect these great sections 
by inland navigation, to unite our Mediterranean seas with the ocean, was evi- 
dently an object of the first importance to the general prosperity ; that the 
Hudson river offered superior advantages for effecting this connection, because 
it afforded a tide navigation through the Blue ridge or eastern chain of moun- 
tains, and ascended above the eastern termination of the Catskill or great western 
chain, and that no mountains interposed between it and the great western lakes, 
while the tide in no other ri\er or bay in the United States ascended higher than 
the Granite ridge, or within thirty miles of the Blue ridge. After showing the 
importance of the Hudson as a natural channel of trade, one hundred and seventy 
miles in length, the petitioners showed that the canal would be virtually an exten- 
sion of that channel three hundred miles through a fertile country, embracing a 
great population, and abounding with all the productions of industry ; and they 
asked, if the work was so important when viewed in relation to this state alone, 


how unspeakably beneficial must it appear when the contemplation should be ex- 
tended to the great lakes, and the country that surrounded them ; waters extending 
two thousand miles, and a country containing more territory than all Great Britain 
and Ireland, and at least as much as France. After demonstrating that New- 
Orleans and Montreal were the only formidable rivals of New- York for the 
great prize of the western trade, and showing the advantages in that competition 
which New- York would derive from the proposed Erie canal, a glowing view of 
its prospective benefits was presented. Leaving to her rivals no Inconsiderable 
portion of the western trade, New- York, said the memorialists, would engross 
more than sufficient to render her the greatest commercial city in the world. 
The whole line of the canal would exhibit boats loaded with the various produc- 
tions of our soil, and with merchandise from all parts of the world ; great manufac- 
turing establishments would spring up ; agriculture would establish its granaries, 
and commerce its warehouses, in all directions ; villages, towns and cities would 
line the banks of the canal and the shores of the Hudson from Erie to New- 
York ; the wilderness and the solitary place would become glad, and the desert 
would blossom as the rose. 

The petitioners then presented the superior advantages of a continuous canal 
from the Hudson to Lake Erie, over one which would terminate at Lake Ontario, 
wdth a passage between that lake and Lake Erie around the falls of Niagara. 
They then showed that the work might be completed by the use of the credit of 
the state, provision being made to pay the interest on the money borrowed until 
the canal should become productive of revenue. They urged with earnestness 
the immediate commencement of the work. Delays, said they, are the refuge 
of weak minds ; and to procrastinate on this occasion is to show a culpable inat- 
tention to the bounties of nature, a total insensibility to the blessings of Provi- 
dence, and an inexcusable neglect of the interests of society. If, they added, it 
were intended to advance the views of individuals, or to foment the divisions of 
party ; if the scheme promoted the interests of a few at the expense of the prospe- 
rity of many ; if its benefits were limited as to place, or fugitive as to duration, 

Intr. 13 


then indeed it might be received with cold indifference, or treated with stem 
neglect ; but the overflowing blessing from this great fountain of public good and 
national abundance, would be as extensive as our country, and as durable as 
time. The petitioners enforced their eloquent appeal for an immediate com- 
mencement of the enterprise, by the considerations that it could not be prose- 
cuted at any future time with less expense ; that the longer it was delayed, the 
greater would be the difficulty in surmounting the interests which would rise up 
in opposition ; that there was an urgent necessity for immediately diminishing 
the expense of transportation ; that it would raise the value of the national do- 
main, and thus cause the speedy extinguishment of the national debt and a 
diminution of taxes, leaving a considerable source of revenue to-be expended in 
other works of improvement, in encouraging the arts and sciences, in patronizing 
the operations of industry, in fostering the inventions of genius, and in diffusing the 
blessings of knowledge ; that New- York was both Atlantic and western, and the 
only state in which an indissoluble union of interest between the gi'eat sections of 
the confederacy could be formed and perpetuated ; that she would justly be con- 
sidered an enemy to the human race, if she did not exert for this purpose the 
high faculties which the Almighty had put into her hands ; and lastly, that the 
enterprise, as to the countries which it would connect, and as to the consequen- 
ces which it would produce, was without a parallel in the history of mankind. 
"Wliile, they remarked, the chiefs of powerful monarchies had projected or 
executed designs which had attracted the admiration of the world, it remained for 
a free state to create a new era in history, and to erect a work more stupendous, 
more magnificent and more beneficial than any hitherto achieved by the human 

Two vacancies had occurred in the canal commission ; Robert R. Livingston 
having died in 1815, which event was followed by the lamented death of Robert 
Fulton, whereby the friends of internal improvement were deprived of the further 
cooperation of one, whose services in perfecting steam navigation had conferred 
such signal benefits on the human race. The board of commissioners was now 


composed of Gouverneur Morris, Stephen Van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, 
Simeon De Witt, William North, Thomas Eddy, Peter B. Porter and Charles D. 
Cooper. They submitted a report, from which Mr. Morris withheld his signature, 
for the reason, as was said, that his idea of an uniform decli^^ty from Lake Erie 
to the Hudson, was abandoned.* They expressed a confident belief that the public 
mind was now prepared for a commencement of the Erie canal ; announced 
that they had assurances that a loan of one million of dollars, at an interest of 
six per cent, could be obtained, and subsequent sums as fast as should be required ; 
suggested the expediency of constructing first the middle section, extending from 
Rome to the Seneca river, because it would yield a large revenue, and trade 
might be thereby diverted from the valley of the St. Lawrence, and again urged 
the simultaneous prosecution of the Champlain canal. 

The joint committee on canals, at this session, consisted of William Ross, 
George Tibbits, Philetus Swift and Peter R. Livingston, of the senate, and Jacob 
R. Van Rensselaer, Thomas J. Oakley, William Thompson, James Lynch, Ben- 
jamin Mooers, Myron Holley, William D. Ford and George Warner, of the 
assembly. Mr. Van Rensselaer, from that committee, introduced a bill provid- 
ing for the immediate commencement of both canals, and pledging ample funds 
for that purpose. The bill, after being discussed four weeks, passed the assembly 
by the decisive vote of ninety-one to eighteen. Those who voted in the aflfirma- 
tive, were Aaron Adams, Truman Adams, Joshua Ballard, Asa C. Barney, Joseph 
Bayley, John H. Beach, William C. Bouck, Isaac Bray ton, Philip Brasher, John 
Brown junior, Thomas Brown, Oliver Brown, William Campbell, Israel Cha- 
pin, Jonathan Childs, Nathan Christie, Abel Cole, George Cramer, Silas Crippen, 
David Dill, William A. Duer, Henry Fellows, William D. Ford, Michael Fre- 
ligh, James Ganson, Isaac Gere, Job Greene, David E. Gregory, George Hall, 
Nathan Hall junior, Nicoll Halsey, William Hamilton, Michael Harris, Isaac 
Hayes, Nathaniel P. Hill, Peter A. Hilton, Henry Hopkins, Eliphalet S. Jackson, 

♦ Colden's Memoir. 


Peter A. Jay, Oliver Judd, Alexander Kelsey, Nathan Kimball, Herman Knick- 
erbacker, Edward W. Laight, Jacob L. Larzelere, Thomas Lawyer, Henry 
Leavenworth, Henry B. Lee, Henry Liiingston, James Lynch, Samuel L Mc- 
Chestney, John McFadden, Arunali Metcalf, Elijah Miles, Green Miller, Samuel 
Milliman, Benjamin Mooers, Andrew Morris, Roderick Morrison, Thomas J. Oak- 
ley, Elias Osborn, John L Ostrander, James Palmer, William Parks, Timothy H. 
Porter, James Powers, Edmund G. Rawson, John Reid, Jacob Roggen, Abraham 
Rose, David Russell, Reuben Sanfoixl, John Schoolcraft, Barnabas Smith, Jesse 
Smith, Joseph Smith, Roger Sprague, James Stevenson, Selah Strong, Thomas C. 
Taylor, William Thompson, Jacob R. Van Rensselaer, George Warner, Elizur 
Webster, Dirck Westbrook, Roswell Weston, John Whiting, Mason Whiting, 
Nathan Williams, Isaac Wilson and Augustus Wyncoop. Those who voted in 
the negative were Gamaliel H. Barstow, James Burt, Phineas Carl, Stephen Car- 
man, Richard Covvson, Chillus Doty, Zechariah Hoffman, Benjamin Isaacs, Wil- 
liam Jones, Daniel Kissam, Abraham Miller, William Munroe, William Requa, 
Amos Stebbins, Richard Van Home, Harmanus A. Van Slyck, John B. Van 
Wyck, William Woodward. 

When the bill reached the senate, Martin Van Buren proposed an amendment 
which would limit the powers of the commissioners to the consideration and 
adoption of measures requisite to facilitate the preparations for constructing the 
canals, the employment of engineers to explore and examine the routes ; to mak- 
ing application to sister states and territories for aid, and to proprietors of land, 
corporations and citizens, for gi-ants of land, or donations of money;; and to gene- 
ral inquiries concerning finances. This amendment prevailed, by a vote of 
twenty to nine, and the bill passed the senate, after being further amended so 
as to constitute Stephen Van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, Samuel Young, Joseph 
Ellicott and Myron Holley commissioners, and to appropriate twenty thousand 
dollars for the purposes contemplated. As thus amended, the bill received the 
votes of David Allen, Russel Atwater, Jacob Barker, Stephen Bates, Bennet 
Bicknell, Francis A. Bloodgood, Moses I. Cantine, Archibald S. Clark, Lucas 


Elmendorf, Chaiincey Loomis, Peter H. Radcliff, William Ross, Henry Seymour, 
Samuel Stewart, Philetus Swift, Martin Van Buren, Abraham Van Vechten, Sa- 
muel Verbryck and Gerrit Wendell. Those who voted against the bill were 
James Cochran, Darius Crosby, Jonathan Dayton, Parley Keyes, Peter R. Living- 
ston and David Ogden. The bill received the concurrence of the assembly, and 
became a law, after an ineffectual effort to induce the senate to recede from their 

The commissioners selected De Witt Clinton to be their president, and ap- 
pointed Samuel Young their secretary, and Myron Holley their treasurer ; divided 
the canal route into three sections, middle, eastern and western, and appointed 
engineers for each section. In 1817 they made a detailed report of the survey. 
They estimated the cost of the Erie canal at four million five hundred and 
seventy-one thousand eight hundred and thirteen dollars, and showed that its 
entire length would be three hundred and fifty-three miles ; that the surface of 
Lake Erie was five hundred and sixty-four feet higher than the Hudson, and 
one hundred and forty-five feet higher than Rome ; and that the aggregate rise 
and fall would be six hundred and sixty-one feet, which would require the con- 
struction of seventy-seven locks. The dimensions of the canal, as established, 
were forty feet width at the surface, twenty-eight feet at the bottom, and four 
feet depth. 

The commissioners, although they spoke discouragingly, did not yet relinquish 
the hope of aid from the federal government, and from sister states ; and they 
recorded the enlightened and generous resolution of Ohio, to aid as far as her 
resources would justify, in the construction of a work, the advantages of which to 
herself and to the union she so clearly discerned. The commissioners further 
reported, that although they had 7iot accurate information, they had no doubt 
that loans of money sufficient for the construction of the work could be obtained, 
and that ample funds could be commanded for the payment of interest and the 
extinguishment of the debt, without taxation. 


The commissioners, at the same session, submitted a further report, showing 
that the estimated cost of the Champlain canal was eight hundred and seventy- 
one thousand dollai-s, and recommending its immediate construction. The joint 
legislative committee on the canals consisted of Peter R. Livingston, George 
Tibbits and Philetus Swift, of the senate ; and William D. Ford, Nathaniel Pen- 
dleton, Jonathan Child, Henry Eckford and Gideon Wilcoxson, of the assembly. 
Mr. Ford made an elaborate report in favor of the immediate commencement 
and vigorous prosecution of both works ; submitted a scheme of finance, which 
formed the basis of the ^^lan ultimately adopted, and brought in a bill entitled 
'' An act concerning navigable communications between the great western and. 
northern lakes and the Adantic ocean." This bill, which, after a very full dis- 
cussion in both houses, became a law, provided for an immediate commencement 
of the canals ; and thus, after a struggle of ten years, the ascendancy of the policy 
of internal improvement was complete. 

The sentiments of mingled hope and apprehension on the part of the legislature, 
in finally adopting that policy, were thus expressed in the preamble to the law : 
" Whereas, navigable communications between Lakes Erie and Champlain, and 
the Atlantic ocean, by means of canals connected with the Hudson river, will 
promote agriculture, manufactures and commerce, mitigate the calamities of 
war, and enhance the blessings of peace, consolidate the union, and advance the 
prosperity and elevate the character of the United States : And whereas, it is the 
incumbent duty of the people of this state, to avail themselves of the means 
which the Almighty has placed in their hands for the production of such signal, 
extensive and lasting benefits to the human race : Now, therefore, in full confi- 
dence that the congress of the United States, and the states equally interested 
with this state in the commencement, prosecution and completion of those im- 
portant works, will contribute their full proportion to the expense ; and in order 
that adequate funds may be provided, and properly arranged and managed, for 
the prosecution and completion of all the navigable communications contemplated 
by this act." The act constituted a canal fund to consist of such appropriatons. 


grants and donations, as might be made by the legislature, by the federal govern- 
ment, by states, and by corporations, companies and individuals, and placed it 
under the management of a board of commissioners of the canal fund, " to be 
composed of the lieutenant-governor, comptroller, secretary of state, attorney- 
general, surveyor-general and treasurer." The board was authorized to borrow 
moneys on the public credit, at an interest not exceeding six per centum, and not 
exceeding in one year a sum which, together with the income of the fund, should 
amount to four hundred thousand dollars. For the moneys to be borrowed, the 
comptroller was to issue transferable stock. Stephen Van Rensselaer, De Witt 
Clinton, Samuel Young, Joseph Ellicott, and Myron Holley, were reaj^pointed 
commissioners, under the denomination of canal commissioners. The comp- 
troller was directed to pay to them the moneys to be borrowed, and the income 
of the canal fund, reserving always sufficient to pay the interest on loans. The 
canal commissioners were empowered to establish and collect reasonable tolls 
whenever any portion of the work should be completed. The fee simple of the 
canals was to be vested in the people, provision being made to indemnify the 
proprietors of lands. The commissioners were also to take measures for vesting 
in the people the title of the property of the Western Inland Lock Navigation 
Company, paying that association for the same out of the canal fund. A duty of 
twelve and a half cents per bushel on all salt to be manufactured in the then west- 
ern district of the state, a tax on steamboat passengers, the unaj^propriated pro- 
ceeds of all lotteries, the nett proceeds fi-om the property and tolls of the Western 
Inland Lock Navigation Company, the nett revenues of the canals, all grants and 
donations, and all duties upon sales at auction — ^- after deducting existing appro- 
priations of thirty-three thousand five hundred dollars — • were pledged for the 
prosecution of the works and the payment of the interest, and the final redemp- 
tion of the stock to be issued for that purpose. 

It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the growing power and influence of 
the western and northern portions of the state were chiefly effective in securing 
the commencement of the canals. The representatives from other regions in 


yielding the acknowledgment of that influence, still entertained so much distrust 
of the productiveness of the works, that they insisted upon incorporating in the 
law a provision for levying a tax -of $250,000 upon the lands lying along the 
routes of the canals, and within a distance of twenty-five miles on each side 
thereof. This provision undoubtedly affected the votes upon the passage of the 
law. In the assembly sixty-four members voted for, and thirty-six against it. 
Those in the affirmative were, Henry Albert, David I. Ambler, Isaac Barber, 
Wheeler Barnes, John H. Beach, Abijah Beckwith, John Brown junior, John H. 
Burhans, Abram Camp, William Campbell, Daniel Carpenter, Jonathan Childs, 
Gerret Cuck, Rowland Day, John D. Dickinson, William A. Duer, Tunis B. El- 
dridge, James Faulkner, James Finch, Henry Fonda, William D. Ford, James 
Ganson, Archer Green, Henry Gross, Burton Hammond, Elihu Hedges, Peter A. 
Hilton, James Houghtaling, Hezekiah Hulburt, Samuel Jackson, Jacob L. Larze- 
lere, Joshua Lee, Newton Marsh, Moses Maynard, Greene Miller, John Miller, Ben- 
jamin Mooers, Zebulon Mott, Cyrenus Noble, Jonathan Olmsted, John I. Ostran- 
der, Humphrey Palmer, Nathaniel Pendleton, Nathaniel Pitcher, John Pixley, 
Henry Piatt, Timothy H. Porter, Jedediah Prendergast, William B. Rochester, 
James Roseburgh, George Rosenkrantz, Isaac Sears, Richard Smith, Gideon 
Tabor, Elijah Turner, Ebenezer Wakeley, Ebenezer W. Walbridge, Rufus 
Watson, James Weljb, Asa Wells, Gideon Wilcoxson, Elisha Williams, Isaac 
Wilson and David Woods. Those who voted in the negative were, Cornelius 
A. Blauvelt, Levi Callender, Stephen Carman, William Cook, Richard C. Cor- 
son, Clarkson Crolius, Chillus Doty, James Emott, John Gale, Cornelius Heeny, 
William Jones, Martin Kceler, Daniel Kissam, John McFadden, Asa Mann, 
Elijah Miles, Abraham Parsons, John Pettit, Samuel B. Romaine, Samuel Russell, 
Reuben Sanford, Isaac Sargent, Edward Smith junior, Joseph Smith, Samuel A. 
Smith, Justus Squire, Amos Stebbins, Christopher Tappen junior, John Town- 
send, John Victory, George Warner, Elizur Webster, Ebenezer White junior 
and Ebenezer Wood. 

In the senate the vote on the law was eighteen to nine. In the affirmative 



were, David Allen, Stephen Bates, Bennet Bicknell, Moses I. Cantine, James 
Cochran, Ralph Hascall, Ephraun Hart, Parley Keyes, John Knox, William 
Mallory, John I. Prendergast, William Ross, Farrand Stranahan, Samuel 
Stewart, Peter Swart, George Tibbits, Martin Van Buren and Abraham Van 
Vechten ; and in the negative, Henry Bloom, Walter Bowne, Darius Crosby, 
Jonathan Dayton, John D. Ditmis, Lucas Elmendorf, Peter R. Livingston, John 
Noyes and Isaac Ogden. 

The geographical classification of members voting for and against the law 
was as follows : 

Southern district, 
Middle " 

In the Senate. 

Affirmative. Negative. 

..6 3 

Suffolk, .-- 


Richmond,. -. 

New- York, 




Dutchess, 2 

Orange, 3 

Ulster and Sullivan, 1 


Columbia, 4 

Rensselaer, 5 

Albany, 4 

Washington and Warren, 2 

Saratoga, 1 


Clinton and Franklin, 1 

St. Lawrence, .. 

Affirmative. Negative. 

Eastern district, 7 

Western " 5 1 


In the Assembly. 





Schoharie, 2 

Montgomery, 4 

Herkimer, 3 

Lewis and Jefferson, 

Otsego, 5 

Chenango, Broome and Tioga,. . 2 

Madison, 3 

Oneida, 4 

Onondaga, 3 

Cortland, 1 

Cayuga, 3 

Seneca, 2 

Ontario, 3 

Genesee, 2 

Steuben and Allegany, 2 

Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chau- 

tauque, 2 






The ground was broken, for the construction of the Erie canal, on the fourth 
day of July, 1817, at Rome, with ceremonies marking the public estimation of 
that great event. De Witt Clinton, having just before been elected to the chief 
magistracy of the state, and being president of the board of canal commissioners, 
enjoyed the high satisfaction of attending, with his associates, on the auspicious 

In his annual speech to the legislature in 1818, he congratulated the people on 
the commencement of the canals, rapidly reviewed the progress already made 
in their construction, remarked briefly on their advantages, and earnestly urged 
that the state was required to persevere, by every dictate of interest, by every 
sentiment of honor, by every injunction of patriotism, and liy every consideration 
which ought to influence the councils and govern the conduct of a free, high- 
minded, enlightened and magnanimous jieople. The senate responded favor- 
ably to these sentiments, and the answer of the assembly was in terms of spirited 

The commissioners made a report, showing that they had engaged Isaac 
Briggs, an eminent mathematician, as an engineer on the middle section, and 
had let the work to be done in small portions, by contract. 

At this session, laws were passed, authorizing the construction of the Chitte- 
nango canal for navigation, and as a feeder to the Erie canal ; and an examination 
of the outlet of Buffalo creek, with a view to form a harbor at the entrance of 
the Erie canal into Lake Erie, and making improvements of the financial system 
adopted at the previous session. The act relating to the last mentioned subject, 
authorized the comptroller to borrow one milHon of dollars for the general uses 
of the treasury, and to issue therefor stock redeemable on the first of January, 
1828. When this law was under consideration in the assembly, Erastus Root 
moved that the power of the commissioners of the canal fund to borrow money 
for canal purposes, should be suspended until the redemption of the stock debt 
to be created under the law. This was the last effort made in the legislature to 


arrest the prosecution of the canals. The motion was lost, only twenty-one 
members voting therefor. 

In 1819, governor Clinton announced to the legislature, that the progress of 
the public works equalled the most sanguine expectations, and that the canal 
fund was flourishing. He recommended the prosecution of the entire Erie canal. 
Enlarging upon the benefits of internal navigation, he remarked, that he looked 
to a time not far distant, when the state would be able to improve the navigation 
of the Susquehannah, the Allegany, the Genesee and the St. Lawrence ; to assist 
in connecting the waters of the great lakes and the Mississippi ; to form a junc- 
tion between the Erie canal and Lake Ontario through the Oswego river ; and 
to promote the laudable intention of Pennsylvania to unite the Seneca lake with 
the Susquehannah ; deducing arguments in favor of such enterprises, from the 
immediate commercial advantages of extended navigation, as well as from its 
tendency to improve the condition of society, and strengthen the bonds of the 
union. Henry Yates junior, in the senate, and John Van Ness Yates, in the 
assembly, on behalf of the proper committees, submitted answers concurring in 
the opinions expressed by the chief magistrate, and the same were adopted. 

Joseph Ellicott, having resigned the office of canal commissioner, Ephraim 
Hart was appointed in his place, ad interim, and subsequently Henry Seymour 
was called to fill the vacancy. 

The canal commissioners, in their report, gave an interesting account of their 
proceedings, represented that the work on the middle section, under the care of 
Benjamin Wright as principal engineer, had been conducted with great success ; 
and that Canvass White and Nathan S. Roberts, who had previously bee nassis- 
tant engineers, were assigned, on account of their eminent skill, to higher duties. 
Mr. White was distinguished at this time for his discovery of the manner of pre- 
paring a hydraulic cement from a peculiar species of limestone found in the 
vicinity of the canal. He was the inventor, also, of the improvement in the con- 
struction of upper gates of canal locks, which has been said to be the only im- 


provement in the mechanical construction of canals, made since the building of 
the Languedoc canal. 

The commissioners recommended that a navigable communication should im- 
mediately be opened from the Erie canal to the salt works at Salina, and that 
the militia law should be so modified as to excuse laborers on the canals from 
military duty, and sustained the recommendation by the governor of the simul- 
taneous prosecution of all portions of the Erie canal. 

The joint committee on internal improvements consisted of Jabez D. Ham- 
mond, Henry Seymour and Walter Bowne, senators, and Ezekiel Bacon, Jacob 
Rutsen Van Rensselaer, John Doty, Jedediah Miller and Asahel Warner, of the 
assembly. Mr. Bacon submitted a report, and introduced a bill, embodying the 
recommendations of the canal commissioners. This bill became a law, twenty- 
five members of the assembly voting against the section which empowered the 
canal commissioners to commence the eastern and western portions of the Erie 
canal and the branch canal from the Erie canal to Salina. A survey was also autho- 
rized from the mouth of the Oswego river, up the same, the Seneca river and 
the outlet of the Onondaga river, with a view to improve the navigation of those 
streams. This was the first legislative step towards the construction of the Os- 
wego canal. 

At this session a law was passed, suspending the collection of the local canal 
tax, until further directions should be given by the legislature. 

An act was also passed, granting a loan to citizens of Buffalo, to be applied to 
the construction, under the direction of the canal commissioners, of a harbor 
at that place, and providing for the assumption of the harbor, if it should tilti- 
mately be deemed expedient. 

On the twenty-third of October, 1819, the portion of the Erie canal between 
Utica and Rome was opened to navigation, and on the twenty-fourth of Novem- 
ber the Champlain canal admitted the passage of boats. Thus in less than two 
years and five months one hundred and twenty miles of artificial navigation had 
been finished, and the physical as well as the financial practicability of uniting 


the waters of the western and northern lakes with the Atlantic ocean, was esta- 
blished to the conviction of the most incredulous. 

Governor Clinton announced these gratifying results to the legislature in 1820, 
and admonished them that while efforts directly hostile to internal improvements 
would in future be feeble, it became a duty to guard against insidious enmity ; 
and that in proportion as the Erie canal advanced towards completion, would be 
the ease of combining a greater mass of population against the further exten- 
sion of the system. Attempts, he remarked, had already been made to arrest 
the progress of the Erie canal west of the Seneca river, and he anticipated their 
renewal when it should reach the Genesee. But the honor and prosperity of 
the state demanded the completion of the whole of the work, and it would be 
completed in five years, if the representatives of the people were just to them- 
selves and to posterity. Referring to the local tax, he submitted whether it 
comported with the magnanimity of government to resort to partial or local im- 
positions to defray the expenses of a magnificent work, identified with the gene- 
ral prosperity. The commissioners informed the legislature that they had em- 
ployed David Thomas to survey the proposed harbor at Buffalo, and that plans 
for a similar improvement at Black Rock had been received. 

The committee on internal improvements in the senate, consisted of Jabez D. 
Hammond, Gideon Granger and Stephen Barnum ; and the committee on canals 
in the assembly, of George Huntington, John T. Irving, David Austin, Elial T. 
Foote and Thomas J. Oakley. 

A law was passed, suspending the collection of the tax on steamboat passen- 
gers, and imposing, by way of commutation, on the North River Steamboat 
Company an annual tax of five thousand dollars, for the benefit of the canal 
t'und. This company then enjoyed, by grant from the legislature, a monopoly 
of steam navigation iipon all the waters within the state, as a reward to Robert 
Fulton, Robert R. Livingston and their associates, as public benefactors. The 
grant was afterwards adjudged by the supreme court of the United States to be 
void, so far as it affected navigation in tide waters, because it conflicted with the 


constitution of the United States. The same law appropriated twenty-five 
thousand dollars for the improvement of the Oswego river; and by other acts, 
Grand island on the Niagara river, and a portion of the reservation at the Onon- 
daga salt springs, were directed to be sold for the benefit of the canal fund ; and 
the legislature prescribed a general system of police for the management and 
protection of the canals. 

By an arrangement made by the commissioners, and sanctioned by the legisla- 
ture, three of the five commissioners were charged with active duties, to be com- 
pensated by salaiies, while the other commissioners were relieved from such du- 
ties. The acting commissioners designated were Mr. Young, Mr. Seymour and 
Mr. HoUey. During the same year the title of the Western Inland Lock Naviga- 
tion Company, to its property and privileges, was transferred to the state, and a 
compensation of one hundred and fifty thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight 
dollars was paid for the same. 

In November, 1820, governor Clinton congratulated the legislature upon the 
progress of the public works. He urged the adoption of plenary measures to com- 
plete the Erie canal within thi-ee years, enforcing the recommendation by the 
consideration, that Ohio would thereby be encouraged to pursue her noble 
attempt to unite the watei's of Lake Erie with the Ohio river. The canal com- 
missioners showed in their report that the Erie canal was navigable from Utica 
to the Seneca river, a distance of ninety-six miles, and that its tolls, during four 
months, had amounted to five thousand two hundred and forty-four dollars. 

An effort was made in the assembly to abrogate the local tax, which failed ; a 
result showing that distrust of the productiveness of the canals still lingered in the 
halls of the legislature. This, however, was the last effort, and the law has been 
suffered to remain ever since, unexecuted and unrepealed. William C. Bouck 
was, during the same session, appointed an acting canal commissioner. 

Governor Clinton, in 1822, referred, in his speech, to the difficulties and em- 
barrassments which had been encountered with regard to the most eligible routes 
for the canals, and the most proper designations for the termini of the Erie 


canal ; assuring the legislature, however, that the canal board had not been led 
astray by local considerations or ephemeral expedients, and that they would be 
able to combine the accommodation of flourishing cities and villages with the 
promotion of the general convenience and welfare. He noticed the efforts on 
the part of Illinois to connect the river of that name with Lake Michigan, and 
those of Ohio to unite with Lake Erie the river which formed her southern 
boundary, commending those efforts to the munificent patronage of the national 
government, and the favorable countenance of New-York. He recommended 
also the institution of a board of public improvements, to be composed of enlight- 
ened and public spirited citizens, and invested with power to establish and faci- 
litate all useful channels of communication, and all eligible modes of improve- 

The tolls on the portion of the Champlain canal which had been completed, 
amounted, in the previous year, to one thousand three hundred and eighty-six 

The legislature at this session directed the canal commissioners to open a boat 
navigation between the village of Salina, the Onondaga lake and the Seneca 
river. These improvements when completed, together with those previously 
directed, created an artificial canal from the Erie canal to Lake Ontario, and 
constituted a portion of what afterwards became known as the Oswego canal. 

Acts were also passed to encourage the construction of harbors at Buffalo 
creek and Black-Rock, and to adapt the Glen's Falls feeder of the Champlain 
canal to boat navigation. 

On the first of January, 1823, the government went into operation under the 
new constitution, Joseph C. Yates having been elected to the office of governor. 
The constitution declared that rates of toll not less than those set forth by the canal 
commissioners, in their report of 1821, should be collected on the canals, and that 
the revenues then pledged to the canal fund should not be diminished nor di- 
verted before the complete payment of the principal and interest of the entire 
canal debt, a pledge which placed the public credit on an impregnable basis. 


It appeared at the commencement of the session of the legislature in 1823, 
that the pubhc debt amounted to $5,423,500, of which $4,243,500 were for 
moneys borrowed to construct the canals. The commissioners reported that 
boats had passed on the Erie canal a distance of more that two hundred and 
twenty miles, and that as early as the first of July ensuing, that channel would 
be navigable from Schenectady to Rochester. Tlte tolls collected in 1822, upon 
the Erie canal, were $60,000, and upon the Champlain canal, $3,625. The im- 
provements of the outlet of Onondaga lake had been completed, and the Glen's 
Falls feeder was in a course of rapid construction. Among the benefits already 
resulting from the Erie canal, the commissioners showed that the price of wheat 
west of the Seneca river had advanced fifty per cent. To appreciate this result, 
it is necessary to understand that wheat is the chief staple of New- York, and 
that far the largest portion of wheat-growing lands in this state lie west of the 
Seneca river. 

Attempts were again made in both branches to provide for collecting the local 
tax. The proposition was lost in the senate by a vote of nineteen to ten, and in 
the assembly by a division of sixty-five to thirty-one. 

The legislature expressed by resolution a favorable opinion of the inland navi- 
gation which New-Jersey proposed to establish between the Delaware and 
Hudson rivers. A loan of $1,500,000 was authorized for caiaal purposes ; a 
survey of the Oswego river was directed to be made, and estimates of the ex- 
pense of completing the canal from Sahna to Lake Ontario. An association to 
construct such a canal was incorporated, and authority given to the commis- 
sioners to take the work when completed, leaving the use of its surplus waters 
to the corporators ; and the eastern termination of the Erie canal was fixed at 

The canal commissioners reported in 1824 that the Champlain canal was 
finished ; that both canals had produced revenues during the previous year of 
one hundred and fifty-three thousand dollars, and that the commissioners had 


decided that the Erie canal ought to be united with the Niagara river at Black 
Rock, and terminate at Buffalo. 

Myron Holley now resigned the office of canal commissioner, and laws were 
passed appropriating one million of dollars for canal purposes, and directing a 
survey for a canal from Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence, with a view to 
complete the inland navigation between that river and the Hudson. 

On the twelfth of April, 1824, John Bowman presented to the senate a con- 
current resolution, that " De Witt Clinton, Esq. be and he is hereby removed from 
the office of canal commissioner ;" and it was carried on the same day through the 
senate, by a vote of twenty-one to three, and through the assembly by a vote of 
sixty-four to thirty-four. 

As soon as a partial navigation of the canals had commenced, the government 
of the United States asserted a pretension to exact tonnage duties thereon. The 
legislature of this state, at its adjourned session, instructed its senators and repre- 
sentatives in congress to use their utmost endeavors to prevent such unjust and 
impolitic exactions ; and the claim of the government of the United States, 
although not formally relinquished, has never since been urged. 

On the reassembling of the legislature in January, 1825, De Witt Clinton, 
who, in November of the preceding year, had been again called to the office of 
chief magistrate, congratulated the legislature wpon the prospect of the imme- 
diate completion of the Erie canal, and the reasonable certainty that the canal 
debt might soon be satisfied, without a resort to taxation, without a discontinu- 
ance of efforts for similar improvements, and without staying the dispensing hand 
of government in favor of education, literature, science and productive industry. 
Earnestly renewing his recommendation that a board of internal improvement 
should be instituted, he remai-ked that the field of operations was immense, and 
the harvest of honor and profit unbounded ; and that if the resources of the 
state should be wisely applied and forcibly directed, all proper demands for im- 
portant avenues of communication might be satisfied. The primary design of 
our system of artificial navigation, which was to open a communication between 

Intr. 15 


the Atlantic and the great lakes, was already, he observed, nearly accomplished, 
but would not be fully realized until Lake Ontario should be connected with the 
Erie canal and with Lake Champlain ; and the importance of these improve- 
ments would be appreciated when it was understood that the lake coast, not only 
of this state, but of the United States, was more extensive than their sea coast. 
The next leading object, he remarked, should be to unite the minor lakes and 
secondary rivers with the canals, and to effect such a connection between the 
baj's on the sea coast as would ensure the safety of boat navigation against the 
tempests of the ocean in time of peace, and against the depredations of an enemy 
in time of war. He pointed out, as portions of this great system, the construc- 
tion of canals to connect the Seneca, the Cayuga, the Canandaigua and other 
lakes in the ^•icinity, with the Erie canal, and of a navigable channel from the 
Hudson to the Delaware ; an union of the upper waters of the Susquehannah with 
the Genesee and the Allegany rivers; a connection of the Erie canal with the 
Susquehannah river, through the Chenango valley ; of the same ri^'er with the Se- 
neca lake ; of the Erie canal at Buffalo with the Allegany liver, at the confluence 
of that stream with the Conewango, and of the Black river with the Erie canal ; 
and the construction of a navigable communication between Gravesend bay and 
other inlets of the sea, on the shore of Long Island. To these suggestions he 
added others, concerning the importance of an uninterrupted navigation of the 
upper waters of the Hudson river, and a road through the southern tier of coun- 
ties from tide water to Lake Erie. 

Of this comprehensive plan, the Oswego canal, the Cayuga and Seneca canal, 
the Crooked Lake canal, the Chemung canal, the Chenango canal, and the De- 
laware and Hudson canal, are already completed ; the Black River canal, the 
Genesee Valley canal, the New- York and Erie railroad, and the Long Island 
railroad, are now in process of construction ; while for the Ogdensburgh and 
Lake Champlain railroad, the Connewango canal, the improvement of the north- 
ern branches of the Hudson, and the projected continuation of the Chemung 
and Chenango canals, surveys have been made under legislative authority. 


Railroads, recently adopted in Europe for general purposes of transportation, 
were at that time unknown on this side of the Atlantic ; but the system of inter- 
nal improvement marked out by Clinton, has been found eminently practicable 
with the application of that invention. 

The public debt for the canals in 1825, amounted to seven and a half millions 
of dollars, (all of which, it must be recorded to the honor of the state and the 
country, had been borrowed of American capitalists,) and the annual interest 
thereon to three hundred and seventy-six thousand dollars. The governor esti- 
mated, that the tolls for the year would exceed three hundred and ten thousand 
dollars ; that the duties on salt would amount to one hundred thousand dollars, 
and that these, with the other income of the canal fund, would produce a reve- 
nue exceeding by three hundred thousand dollars, the interest on the canal debt. 
He stated also, that ten thousand boats had passed the junction of the canals 
near tide water during the previous season. Remarking that the creative power 
of internal improvement was manifested in the flourishing villages which had 
sprung up or been extended ; in the increase of towns, and above all in the pros- 
perity of the city of New- York ; and noticing the fact, that three thousand build- 
ings had been erected in that city during the preceding year, Clinton predicted 
that in fifteen years its population would be doubled, and that in thirty years that 
metropolis would be the third city in the civilized world, and the second, if not 
the first, in commerce. 

Adverting to the efforts which Ohio was making to connect Lake Erie, which, 
he remarked, might now be regarded as a prolongation of the Erie canal, with 
the Ohio river, he declared, that he should welcome the commencement and 
hail the consummation of that work as among the most auspicious events in our 
history ; and closed his review of the condition and prospects of the state, with 
the exclamation : " How emphatically does it behove us, in the contemplation 
and enjoyment of these abundant blessings, to remember diat we derive them all 
from the great fountain of benevolence !" 

The canal commissioners alluding to the pressure of business on the eastern 


section of the canal, and the probabiHty of its rapid increase, announced to the 
legislature that it would be necessary before long to exclude passenger boats 
from this part of the line, unless double locks were made through the whole 
distance, and remarked that even then the crowd of boats in the spring and fall 
would produce great inconvenience and delay. Reasoning that in many places it 
would be almost impossible to construct double locks, and that in others it would 
be attended with great expense, they inferred that in a very few years it would 
be proper and perhaps indispensable to make a parallel canal along the valley of 
the Mohawk. They showed, that in 1S20 the tolls on ninety-four miles of the 
Erie canal were $5,000 ; in 1821, on the same distance, .$23,000 ; in 1822, on one 
hundred and sixteen miles, $57,000 ; in 1823, on one hundred and sixty miles, 
$105,000 ; and in 1824, on two hundred and eighty miles, had reached the sum 
of $294,000. They submitted tables, in which they estimated the tolls on a 
basis of the increase of population, and the progress of agricultural improvement, 
and predicted that in 1836 two millions of people would be within the influence 
of the Erie canal ; that its tolls would in that year reach the sum of one million 
of dollars ; and that, if the rates should not be reduced, they would amount in 
1846, to two millions of dollars, and in 1856, to four millions. 

At this session, Samuel Dexter junior introduced a bill into the assembly for 
exploring a route to connect the waters of the Black river with the Erie canal ; 
Jacob Adrian Van Der Heuvel brought in a bill to construct a canal from Pots- 
dam, in St. Lawrence, to the Oswegatchie, and to improve the navigation of that 
river; and Thurlow Weed proposed a survey with a view to connect the Allegany 
river at Olean with the Erie canal at Rochester, by a navigable communication 
through the valley of the Genesee river. Laws were passed at the same session, 
authorizing the construction of the Cayuga and Seneca canal, adopting the 
Oswego canal as a state work, and providing for surveys for most of the other 
improvements recommended by the governor ; and the legislature, in view of the 
approaching completion of the main arteries of the system of inland navigation, 
directed that all the laws, reports and documents relative to the canals, requisite 


for a complete official history of these works, with necessary maps and profiles, 
should be carefully collected and published. This duty was performed with 
much accuracy by a legislative committee, with the assistance of John Van Ness 
Yates, then secretary of state, who had been one of the most constant and effi- 
cient friends of the policy, of whose history he thus became the guardian. 

On the 26th of October, 1825, the Erie canal was in a navigable condition 
throughout its entire length, affording an uninterrupted passage from Lake Erie 
to tide water in the Hudson. Thus in eight years artificial commimications four 
hundred and twenty-eight miles in length, had been opened between the more 
important inland waters, and the commercial emporium of the state. This au- 
spicious consummation was celebrated by a telegraphic discharge of cannon, 
commencing at Lake Erie, and continued along the banks of the canal and of the 
Hudson, announcing to the city of New- York, the entrance on the bosom of the 
canal of the first barge that was to arrive at the commercial emporium from the 
American Mediterraneans. Borne in this barge, De Witt Clinton and his co- 
adjutors enjoyed the spectacle of a free people rejoicing in the assurances of 
prosperity increased, and national harmony confirmed ; and were hailed, in their 
passage, through towns and cities they might almost be said to have called into 
existence, with the language of irrepressible gratitude and affection. 

The governor, suppressing all feelings of self-gratulation, announced these 
events to the legislature of 1826, as evidences of the ability, as well as the dis- 
position of republican governments to promote the welfare of mankind. He 
congratulated the representatives of the people that the spirit of internal im- 
provement continued in full power here, and had diffused itself into other states. 
He announcdd that the Oswego canal, and the Cayuga and Seneca canal, had 
been diligently prosecuted ; the proposed canal between the Hudson and Dela- 
ware rivers, a work encountering formidable physical difficulties, was in success- 
ful progress, under the care of an incorporation which sought a trade with the coal 
districts of Pennsylvania, and that commissioners, appointed at a previous session, 
were surveying a road from Lake Erie to the Hudson, and works scarcely 


less intimately connected with the prosperity of this state and the success of her 
system of improvements were in process of construction by the state of Ohio. 

The whole cost of the Erie and Champlain canals was stated at $9,130,000; 
the canal debt at $7,738,000, and its annual interest at $413,000. The canal 
commissioners reported that the tolls, during the preceding year, were |56G,221 ; 
and they estimated them for the current year at $750,000, which, with the other 
revenues of the canal fund, would make the sum of $1,100,000, and after pay- 
ing all expenses and interest, leave applicable to the reduction of the principal, 

The year 1826 was distinguished by the commencement of the railroad pohcy 
in the state of New- York. Stephen Van Rensselaer and others were incorpo- 
rated with jiower to construct a railroad from Albany to Schenectady, and the 
right to enjoy, for fifty years, the profits of the enterprise ; but the state reserv- 
ing the right to assume the road on paying to the com2:)any the excess of the cost, 
with interest thereon, over the profits of the work. This important feature has 
been incorporated in all the charters since granted for the construction of rail- 
roads, and circumstances are now occurring which indicate its importance. 

The legislature in 1827, was occupied, so far as internal improvements were 
concerned, with the policy of aiding the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company ; 
with discussing the most eligible route for a connection between the Erie 
canal and the Susquehannah river, and with considering the merits of the pro- 
jected state road through the southern counties. Then, and during several suc- 
cessive years, the general policy of internal improvement being scarcely ques- 
tioned, the public mind was engaged rather with the comparative merits of 
various projects, than in digesting and perfecting a system. 

In 1835, the debt of the state, incurred in the construction of the Erie and 
Champlain canals, had virtually been paid. Moneys derived from the revenues 
of the canal fund, equal to the canal debt, had accumulated and been invested 
for the security of the public creditors ; and the revenues arising from salt and 
auction duties were now, by an amendment of the constitution, diverted to the 


general purposes of tlie treasury ; and the state was, therefore, in the full enjoy- 
ment of those revenues, as well as such as were derived from the canals. 

It was now found that the locks and other mechanical structures on the Erie 
canal, were worn by time and use ; inconveniences were experienced in conse- 
quence of its limited dimensions and inadequate lockage ; and notwithstanding its 
eminent productiveness, it had failed to accomplish fully the objects of its construc- 
tion, inasmuch as a considerable amount of western trade continued to seek mar- 
kets by other routes. It was obvious, moreover, that the capacity of that channel 
should be increased to reduce the expenses of transportation. The legislature, 
therefore, directed that an enlargement should be undertaken whenever the 
canal board should be of opinion that the public interest required such an im- 
provement ; and it was referred to the discretion of the board to fix the dimen- 
sions of the new channel. The canal board adopted the dimensions of seventy 
feet width and seven feet depth, with double locks. The act of 1835 limited, 
however, the expenditures for the enlargement, to the annual surplus of the canal 
tolls, which, after 1837, was to be annually diminished by a considerable sum, 
to be devoted to the uses of the treasury. In 1836, the legislature directed the 
long contemplated construction of the Genesee Valley canal and of the Black 
River canal ; and during this year those improvements were commenced, and the 
enlargement of the Erie canal was prosecuted. A loan of the public credit, to the 
amount of three millions of dollars, was, at the same session, made to a company 
which had been incorporated in 1832, for the construction of a railroad between 
the Hudson river and Lake Erie, through the southern range of counties. 

The canal commissioners, in 1837, reported the progress which had been 
made in the construction of the Genesee Valley and Black River canals, and the 
enlargement of the Erie canal, and recommended the more speedy prosecution 
of the latter work. 

In 1838, the governor, V^illiam L. Marcy, announced that the canal commis- 
sioners were devoting to the enlargement of the Erie canal, all the means placed 
within their control ; that no new contracts, however, had been entered into 


during the preceding year, and that some failures and delays had occurred with 
respect to those previously made. He remarked, that the best Interests of the 
state appealed with great earnestness for the early comjiletion of that important 
improvem.ent, and he was persuaded that a larger sum than the existing appro- 
priation might be advantageously expended without causing an Interruption or 
delays in navigation. Adverting also to the advantages of the canal as a channel 
for western trade, he declared that both duty and interest Indicated the pro- 
priety not only of making it adequate to the public wants, but of doing so at the 
earliest practicable period. 

Stephen Van Rensselaer, William C. Bouck, Jonas Earll junior, John Bowman 
and William Baker were then canal commissioners. They urged the vigorous 
prosecution of the enlargement as a measure of enlightened economy and fore- 
sight. But a2:iprehensions were found In the legislature, that the policy recom- 
mended could not be pursued without committing too dfeeply the credit of the 
state. Although the feasibility of the New- York and Erie railroad had been de- 
monstrated, yet that Important enterprise had not sufficiently gained the confi- 
dence of the community, to secure subscriptions and payments upon its capital 
stock, sufficient for its prosecution, without a modification of the conditions upon 
which the company then enjoyed a loan of public credit. To some extent 
that enterprise was regarded as one of local character, and It therefore found 
little favor in remote regions of the state. The enlargement of the Erie canal 
assumed a similar aspect, in the view of those who desired the former improve- 
ment. A general suspension of specie payments, by banking Instltiitlons through- 
out the union, had occurred In 1837; and a commercial revulsion unprecedented 
in the history of the country, and the effects of which have not yet entirely passed 
away, was paralyzing the energies of men in every department of Industry and 
enterprise. Under these circumstances all questions before the legislature. In 
relation to the public works, were merged In the important consideration of the 
financial ability of the state. The comptroller, Azarlah C. Flagg, In his annual 
report, examined the resources and condition of the treasury, and earnestly re- 
commended a system of finance, of which taxation should be a part, the adoption 


of which would, in his opinion, ensure the prompt payment of the interest, and 
the ultimate redemption of the principal of the public debt. 

Samuel B. Ruggles, chairman of the committee on ways and means of the 
assembly, submitted a report, in which he examined the condition of the finances, 
and reviewed the progress of internal improvements. In this paper he showed 
that, on the first of July, 1836, the revenues of the canal fund had accumulated 
to a sum sufficient to pay the canal debt ; which incident it was declared ought 
to be regarded as the crowning event in the canal policy of the state, and as 
fixing an important era in its history. He further showed that when the canals 
were commenced, the state possessed productive pro2:)erty valued at $2,740,000, 
yielding a revenue of $419,900 ; a school fund of $982,000 ; and a hterature 
fund of $26,000 : that when the canals were commenced, the nett income of the 
treasury was reduced to $180,000 annually, by the diversion of the salt and 
auction revenues to the canal fund : that a tax which had previously been laid to 
defray the expenses of the late war, was then continued : that in 1826, the rapid 
increase of the canal tolls began to exhibit itself, and the state tax was discon- 
tinued, on the ground that the balance remaining of the general fund, $2,740,000, 
would sustain the government, until the debt, for which the salt and auction du- 
ties, and canal tolls were pledged, should be extinguished ; and that those reve- 
nues would then be liberated and placed at the ser\-ice of the state : that by the 
exhaustion of the general fund, in defraying the ordinaiy expenses of the govern- 
ment, and by loans for the same purpose, the sum of $3,156,000 had been ex- 
pended ; but that the salt and auction duties, which had been received between 
the years 1817 and 1836, and paid to the public creditors, amounted to upwards 
of $5,000,000 ; that those duties, to the amount of $5,000,000, were virtually 
invested in the canals as a substitute for the $3,156,000 expended during the 
same period for the ordinary purposes of government : and that the state, since 
the year 1825, had created a debt, then yet outstanding, for the construction of 
lateral canals, amounting to $3,555,000. He further showed that, in the twenty 
years since the commencement of the canals in 1817, the productive property of 
Intr. 16 


the State had increased from $2,973,617 to $22,157,742, or, after deducting the 
then existing state debt, to $17,624,986 ; that the annual revenue had increased 
from $419,907 to $1,413,846 : that during the same period, $500,000 had been 
expended upon pubhc buildings, the school and literature funds had been 
doubled, the state tax discontinued, and the people relieved from burthen or 
expense in supporting the government : that after applying $400,000 of the canal 
tolls annually to the support of the government, there would remain, applicable 
to purposes of internal improvement, an annual nett revenue of $787,103 ; that 
that sum alone would pay the annual interest on $15,643,000 : that any augmen- 
tation in the revenue of the canals would increase the financial ability of the 
state : that every $500,000 of revenue would serve as a basis of finance to sustain 
$10,000,000 of debt : and that, assuming the opinions of the canal commissioners 
expressed in their report of that year, that the canals soon after the completion 
of the enlargement would yield tolls to the amount of $3,000,000 per annum, 
the sum of thirty millions of dollars might be borrowed, expended, and finally 
reimbursed within twenty years ; or the sum of forty millions might be so bor- 
rowed, expended, and reimbui-sed within twenty-eight years. This view of the 
financial ability of the state was illustrated by estimates of the tolls and nett re- 
venue of the canals during a series of years, based upon the experience of the 
increase since their completion. In this table it was assumed that the nett reve- 
nues from the canals for 1838 would be $800,000 ; that it would increase at the 
rate of $100,000 per annum, until 1842 ; that after that time, owing to the com- 
pletion of the enlargement, and other works of internal improvement, and the 
increase of commerce, until 1845, it would increase at the rate of $200,000 per 
annum ; and from 1845, until 1849, at the rate of $300,000 per annum ; at which 
time the nett revenue would reach the sum of $3,000,000. 

The sources from which this large accession of revenue was to be anticipated, 
were pointed out as existing in the extensive and rapidly increasing communities 
growing up around the western lakes. The surprising progress already made 
by that interior group of states, in population, wealth and productive power, was 


shown, and the pecuniary results to be reaUzed from their further and necessary 
increase, were also predicted. The comparative advantages of the enlarged 
Erie canal, as an outlet for the trade of those interior communities, to the Atlan- 
tic, over its present course down the Mississippi to the gulf of Mexico, were alsc 
dwelt upon ; and the importance of completing that work with all practicable 
despatch, was earnestly urged upon the legislature. The important commercial 
effects to be produced by completing the different lines and systems of artificial 
communication then in progress through those inland states, were also adverted 
to, together with the fiscal and political advantages to be derived by this state in 
procuring the transit through its territory for all time to come, of the immense 
trade of this vast interior region. 

In accordance with the conclusions of this report, a law was passed in 1838, 
appropriating four millions of dollars for the prosecution of the enlargement of 
the Erie canal. Laws were also passed at the same session, loaning the credit 
of the state to the Catskill and Canajoharie, the Auburn and Syracuse, and the 
Ithaca and Owego railroad companies, to the extent of eight hundred thousand 
dollars, and modifying the loan to the New- York and Erie Railroad Company. 

An obvious propriety requires, that the writer of these notes should pass with- 
out comment, over the period that remains to be filled up with the progress of inter- 
nal improvement. Samuel B. Ruggies was appointed canal commissioner in 1839, 
to fill the place rendered vacant by the widely lamented death of the venerated 
Stej)hen Van Rensselaer. In 1840, Asa Whitney, Simon Newton Dexter, David 
Hudson, George H. Boughton and Henry Hamilton, became canal commission- 
ers. The present board consists of Jonas Earll junior, James Hooker, George 
W. Little, Benjamin Enos, Stephen Clark and Daniel P. Bissell. In 1840, the 
conditions of the loan to the New- York and Erie Railroad Company were fur- 
ther modified, and appropriations were made to carry on the construction of the 
canals ; and during the three years, from 1839 to 1842, all those works were 
vigorously prosecuted. 


The tolls on all the canals in this state, during the season of navigation in 1841, 
were $2,034,878, exceeding those of 1840 by $259,831, equal to an increase of 
fourteen and a half per cent; and those of 1831, by the sum of $811,077, equal 
to an increase in ten years, of more than sixty -six and one quarter per cent. 

The New- York and Erie railroad, four hundred and fifty-one miles in length, 
is now one-half completed, and may be brought into use in 1844, if prosecuted 
with the same energy as heretofore. The enlargement of the Erie canal is one- 
half finished ; nearly all its mechanical structures having been already replaced 
with works of great strength and durability, and it may be finished within three 
years, if prosecuted with due diligence. The Auburn and Rochester railroad 
has been brought into profitable operation ; portions of the Long Island railroad, 
nearly half of the Genesee Valley canal, and the eastern section of the New- York 
and Erie railroad, have been opened, and are now usefully employed. Our rail- 
way communications were extended one hundred and sixty miles within the last 
year, and their present aggregate length is seven hundred and forty-seven miles ; 
and the total length of our canal navigation is eight hundred and three miles. 
Meanwhile, enlightened citizens of this state and of Pennsylvania have opened 
an active and prosjaerous exchange of gypsum, salt, coal and iron, by the Che- 
mung canal, and by the Ithaca and Owego railroad. There is reason to expect 
that the continuous line of railroad, now reaching from Albany to Batavia, will 
be extended to Lake Erie within the year ; while the citizens of Albany and Bos- 
ton have connected our interior thoroughfares with the system of similar works 
in the eastern states, consisting of one hundred and fifty-two miles of canals, and 
eight hundred miles of railways ; thus opening to us facilities for social intercourse 
with the people of those prosperous communities, and convenient access to their 
manufactures, granaries, seaports and fisheries. This important union of the 
two great northern systems was regarded as mai-king an era in the progress of 
internal improvement, so important, and excited so deep an interest, that the 
governors and legislatures of the states whose combining enterprise had secured 
the auspicious result, assembled at Springfield, in Massachusetts, a point equi- 


distant from their respective capitals, and there exhibited the spectacle, no less 
sublime than novel, of the governments of two communities, represented by their 
executive and legislative authorities, uniting in mass to exchange felicitations 
upon the completion of works which guaranteed domestic tranquillity, ensured 
their safety from external aggression, and bound their citizens, already allied by 
common blood and common language, in perpetual bonds of commercial, politi- 
cal and social union. 

Agricultural improvement did not engage public attention imtil after the revo- 
lution. An association was instituted in 1791, for the promotion of agriculture, 
arts and manufactures, and was incorporated in 1793. Among the founders 
were John Jay, Robert R. Livingston, George Clinton, Samuel L. Mitchill, Ezra 
L'Hommedleu, Egbert Benson, John McKesson, Samuel Jones, Thomas Tillot- 
son, Aquila Giles, Philip Van Cortland, Edward Livingston, John Thurman, 
Simeon De Witt, Horatio Gates and Richard Varick. The name of De Witt 
Clinton appears in the catalogue of 1798. The transactions of the society con- 
tain many excellent papers, and exhibit the then condition of agriculture. The 
society found the art of culture without method. No sufficient means of diffus- 
ing proper intelligence existed. Although the publications of the society had a 
limited circulation, yet they stimulated inquiry. The low condition in which 
agriculture was found, when these efforts commenced, may be learned from a 
report to the British board of agriculture, made by William Strickland, in 1794, 
after extensive travel in this state. " The course of crops," says he, " is-as fol- 
lows : First year, maize or Indian corn ; second, rye or wheat, succeeded im- 
mediately by buckwheat, which stands for seed ; third, flax or oats, or a mixed 
crop ; then a repetition of the same thing, as long as the land will bear any thing, 
after which it is laid by without seed for old field : Or, burn the woods, (that is, 
clear the land from timber ;) then, first, wheat, second, rye, then, maize for four or 
five years, or as long as it will grow ; then, lay it by, and begin on fresh wood 
land ; Or, burn the woods ; then wheat four or five years ; then one or two of 
maize, or as long as it will grow ; then lay by four or five years for old field, 


without seeds. ****** Manure is scarcely made use of, but what 
Httle is collected is given to the maize, which requires every support that can be 
given it. Clover is just beginning to be cultivated, in consequence of which good 
pasture and plenty of hay take the place of old field, and by the use of gypsum 
astonishing crops are obtained. The average produce of wheat in New- York 
has been stated to me, by very intelligent persons, at twelve bushels per acre ; 
which agrees with the general opinion, and I believe is as high as it ought to be 
stated. The average of Dutchess county, which, under a proper cultivation, 
would be a most productive as it is a most beautiful county, has been stated at 
sixteen bushels : twenty bushels per acre are every where a great crop. The 
average of maize may be about twenty-five bushels ; thirty bushels per acre is a 
great crop. With such agriculture as has been stated, it is not to be wondered 
at that the j^roduce should be so small, and yet it will be found that the average 
of this state is superior to that of any other in the union. ***** fhe 
wheat of New- York is esteemed the best in the United States, and that grown on 
the banks and branches of the Mohawk, the best in the state." 

To this graphic sketch it must be added, that farmers, at the period referred 
to, were destitute of proper implements of husbandry. The cast iron plough 
had not been invented ; and, not to mention more important mstruments, now 
considered indispensable, the horse hay rake, the threshing machine, the roller 
and the cultivator, were unknown ; or if any of them had been invented, they 
were so imperfect and so little used as to produce no effect on the general state of 
agriculture. To understand the progress since made in the art of cultivation, as 
well as to mark the existing defects in our system, we must consider separately 
subjects which, when combined, constitute the basis of improved tillage. In all 
new countries, where the soils abound in the elements of fertility, manure is un- 
dervalued. No care is bestowed in preserving and using it, until diminished 
crops, from an impoverished soil, expose the error which has been committed. 
Although this error has been somewhat checked in a portion of the state, it still 
prevails in the newer regions where the natural fertility seems to be inexhaust- 


ible. Nevertheless, the contrast in this respect to the picture before presented, 
is full of encouragement. Barns and yards are now constructed with a view to 
the accumulation and preservation of manure, and extensive experiments have 
been made to ascertain the manner in which the greatest possible benefit can be 
derived from its use. Discrimination prevails in the application of whatever is 
used for that purpose, to the different species of plants. Indian corn and roots 
are now cultivated with the immediate application of fresh manures, while the 
grain crops are cultivated upon grounds previously prepared, by incorporating 
the nutriment with the soil. Several substances are now extensively used as 
manure with beneficial results, such as poudrette and peat, and especially gyp- 
sum, whichj although fifty years ago known to be a stimulant to vegetation, was 
regarded as operating to exhaust the fertility of the soil. More gypsum is now 
prepared and sold in the counties of Onondaga and Cayuga alone, than twenty 
years since was used throughout the whole state. It has been found by expe- 
rience that the deep ploughing, and complete pulverization, now performed with 
ease by means of improved instruments, expose the soil more completely to the 
action of the atmosphere, and furnish a better range or pasture for the roots of 
plants, and thus operate favorably in regard to both the certainty and abundance 
of production. The present mode of draining lands already capable of cultiva- 
tion, is wholly a modern improvement ; that process having heretofore been 
confined to swamps and marshes. The sub-soil plough has been invented with 
express reference to freeing soils fi-om water and deepening them, without bringing 
to the surface the sub-soil which is unfit at first for purposes of vegetation. Gur 
agriculturists have also learned that the mechanical mixture of the earths, by 
effectual ploughing, conduces to fertility. But in no respect has there been a 
more decided advance in husbandry, than in the attention paid to the rotation of 
crops. The practice of exhausting land with a succession of similar or varied 
crops, and then " laying it by for old field," is no longer known. The impor- 
tance of an alternation of crops with a seeding of grasses, as a part of the rotative 
system, is universally acknowledged, and has not only been demonstrated by scien- 


tific theory, but is now generally approved and adopted; and a system of 
rotation, in which crops cultivated with the hoe, alternate with the grains, has 
been recently found an economical substitute for the former process of summer- 
fallowing. A great advance in farming has been effected by the introduction of 
root crops into field culture. It is true that the labor of cultivation is expensive, 
but it is abundantly repaid by increased production, and the superior condition in 
which the soil is preserved. Our farmers have generally been very negligent in 
regard to improving the breed of domestic animals. Recently, however, the 
efforts of a few public spirited persons in introducing cattle, swine and sheep 
from improved stocks in Europe, have lieen crowned with high success. The 
race of horses has been less improved. It is to be hoped that the time has passed 
when efforts in this important department of agriculture must encounter popular 
prejudice and ridicule. In England the advance in weight of cattle, sheep and 
lambs, has averaged at the Smithficld market, as estimated by different indivi- 
duals, at different times, as follows : In 1810, cattle, twenty-six stone six pounds ; 
1830, thirty-nine stone four pounds ; 1840, forty -six stone twelve pounds : in 
1810, sheep and lambs, two stone ; 1830, three stone eight pounds ; 1840, six 
stone six pounds. Although it cannot be affirmed that an equal advance has 
been made here, yet very beneficial effects have resulted as well from the greater 
care practised in feeding and raising stock, as from the introduction of improved 
breeds from abroad. The merino blood in sheep has been so extensively diffused 
since its introduction here in 1809, that it is supposed none of the former race 
of that animal remains unmixed in the country. Among the animals which have 
been introduced, are the Short horns, Hereford, Devon and Ayshire cattle ; the 
South down, Leicester and Coteswold sheep ; the Berkshire, Irish grazier and 
Kenilworth swine ; and pure bloods or crosses of some of these animals are 
found in every county, if not in every town in the state. At the present time, 
thirty-five bushels of wheat per acre is not considered a great crop, and the pro- 
duct frequently reaches forty and even fifty bushels. Seventy-five or eighty 
bushels of corn per acre is not an extraordinary yield. We cannot speak with 


confidence of the increase of root crops ; since, with the exception of the potato, 
all culture of that kind is still in its infancy. It is much to be regretted that 
provision has not hitherto been made for obtaining statistics concerning the 
quantity of land under cultivation, and the number of acres devoted to particular 
crops and their extent ; since the information which might have been thus derived 
would have been not merely useful in ascertaining the present condition of agri- 
culture, but eminently conducive to its future improvement. 

The chief step in the improvement of the plough, was the invention by Jethro 
Wood, which consisted in substituting in the construction of that instrument, 
cast iron for wood and wrought iron. The new plough thus produced, was 
more manageable, and more easily drawn ; and the apprehensions that its strength 
would not be found sufficient to resist the power applied to draw it, were ulti- 
mately found to be groundless. The utmost skill of mechanism has also been 
applied in ascertaining the form best adapted to equalize the friction and resist- 
ance with the work to be performed. Land is now more perfectly and quickly 
tilled with the labor of two horses, than with double that power applied to the 
implement before in use. Moore's plough, for use upon an inclined surface, 
performs its work with as much ease and completeness as similar labor is per- 
formed upon a plain. The threshing machine, a modern invention, has already 
become indispensable to the farmer. With the horse hay-rake in the meadow, 
labor is performed equal to that of six men ; while as a gleaner of the harvest 
field, its use annually more than repays its cost. The cultivator has greatly 
reduced the expense of producing indian corn. Modern improvements of the 
harrow have diminished the weight of that instrument, and given it greater effi- 
ciency in pulverizing the soil. The heavy wrought hoe, and the clumsy three- 
pronged iron fork, have given place to the steel plate polished hoe, and to the 
steel fork with four or six tines. We have machines which, with the application 
of horse power, clear in a perfect manner ten or fifteen acres of grain per day ; 

Intr. 17 


and drill-barrows which have reduced the labor and waste of sowing and plant- 
ing. There has been a marked improvement in the quantity and quality of 
fruits : Our farmers are not all of them satisfied now as formerly with the apple 
orchard, but have their fruit gardens, in which, with the arts of grafting, inocula- 
ting and transplanting, fine varieties of pears, plums, cherries and other exotic 
and domestic fruits are produced. The dwellings of our farmers are now, much 
less frequently than heretofore, constructed as if magnitude was the most impor- 
tant object in their erection. Farm houses may now be found in all parts of the 
state, combining elegance with comfort and convenience, and refined taste is 
manifested in the planting and preservation of shade trees. The location and 
the adaptation of barns and other outbuildings are now especially regarded. 

While the society of 1793, gave to agriculture the impulse which has resulted 
so propitiously, it is now apparent that that institution was defective in omitting 
to establish fairs, or gatherings, in which farmers and patrons of the art might 
exchange friendly greetings, and become acquainted with improvements of tillage 
q,nd implements. In 1819, under the administration of De Witt Clinton, and 
chiefly in consequence of his recommendations, an act was passed, appropriating 
ten thousand dollars annually, for four years, to improve agriculture, the arts and 
manufactures. A board of agriculture was established, and provision was made 
to induce the organization of societies throughout the state. The anniversaries 
of these institutions were the farmers' holidays, when lectures and addresses 
were delivered, and premiums were awarded to those who produced the finest 
animals, the largest and best crops, the most aseful inventions, and suj^erior 
domestic fabrics ; but the societies soon languished and became extinct. The 
chief fault of the law of 1819 was, that it did not hold out sufficient inducement 
to voluntary effort. The distribution of the public money was unconditional, 
and when it ceased, the societies were without funds. Nevertheless, the act of 
1819 was followed by very beneficial results. Among these, were the improve- 
ment of the breeds of domestic animals, the invention of many useful implements 
of husbandry, and the introduction of new methods of culture. In 1841, a new 


effort was put forth by the legislature. An appropriation was made of eight 
thousand dollars annually, for five years, to the State Agricultural Society, the 
American Institute of New- York, and societies in the other counties in the state ; 
on condition, however, that they should respectively devote to the improvement 
of agriculture, funds, otherwise acquired, equal to the sums contributed from the 
treasury. The effects of this beneficent law are already seen in the interesting 
volume containing the transactions of the state agricultural societies for 1841, in 
the general attention to agricultural science, and in the annual exhibitions and 
fairs of the state agricultural society, and the several county associations. 

Agricultural journals also recently established, have contributed much to the 
promotion of that important object. Among those in this state which have 
exerted the most efficient influence, the Ploughboy, by Solomon Southwick, the 
Cultivator, to which the late Jesse Buel assiduously devoted the energies of his 
philosophic mind, and the Genesee Farmer, edited for many years by Luther 
Tucker and Willis Gaylord, and now conducted with equal abihty by Henry 
Coleman, have been eminently successful. These journals have not merely dif- 
fused information concerning the processes of agi'iculture, but they have assigned 
to the farmer his proper position and just influence in society, and shown him the 
importance of intellectual acquirement. They have elevated the occupation in 
popular respect to the dignity of a profession, and it is no longer regarded as one 
of toilsome service, but as one of true honor, enjoyment and usefulness. Here 
too, as in Europe, agriculture has advantages from a more intimate connexion 
with science. To Sir Humphrey Davy belongs the honor of making chemistry 
subservient to the art. It now seems strange indeed, that while every process 
in the growth of plants, from their germination to their maturity, is purely the 
result of chemical action, scarcely an inquiry was bestowed upon the develop- 
ment of that action, until it engaged the attention of that philosopher. Davy 
was followed by that more profound investigator, Chaptal, and he by Liebig and 
Johnston. The works of those authors, together with Dana's volume on manures, 
which is of even greater practical usefulness, have now attained very general 


circulation ; and though they contain many theories which have yet to undergo 
the test of more accurate investigation, they have already opened to our citizens 
a new and most interesting department of science. The district school library 
has afforded facilities for introducing our farmers, in every school district in the 
state, to an intimate acquaintance with all that is valuable in these works. 

An opinion generally prevails that production is altogether greater in Great 
Britain than here, in proportion to the quantity of improved land, and to population. 
The number of improved acres of land in the state of New- York is ten millions ; 
in Great Britain, ninety-eight millions. This state annually produces thirty-nine 
millions of bushels of wheat, barley, oats and rye. Great Britain produces two 
hundred and sixty-two millions. New- York produces two millions of cattle, and 
five millions three hundred and eighty-one thousand sheep. Great Britain pro- 
duces ten millions of cattle, and forty-four millions of sheep. It thus appears 
that New- York is more productive in proportion to the quantity of improved 
land, than Great Britain. The comparison, however, would not hold good if 
instituted with the strictly agricultural districts of England. The United States 
produces an average of eighteen and a half bushels of grain for each person, 
while Great Britain produces in the proportion of twelve bushels for each person. 
But it must be remembered, that in addition to the gi-ains which have been 
already mentioned, and which are common to both countries, the United States 
has a bread crop consisting of four hundred millions of bushels of indian corn, of 
which the state of New- York produces eleven and a half millions, while Great 
Britain has no corresponding crop adapted to human sustenance. The United 
States produces twenty-one millions of swine, a larger number than is to be found 
in all Europe. Of these, two millions are produced in this state ; and this compared 
with similar productions in Great Britain, increases the proportion of this state 
in productions adapted to human sustenance. It may be useful to place on record 
for future reference, as well as to excite attention to the importance of agricul- 
tural statistics, an account of the annual productions of the state as derived from 



the recent census, which, although not altogether reliable for accuracy, is still the 
nearest approximation to the truth that can be found. 

Bushels of wheat, 12,309,041 

" barley, 2,301,041 

" oats, 21,896,205 

" rye, 2,723,241 

" buckwheat, 2,325,911 

" indian corn, 11,441,256 

" potatoes, 30,617,000 

Tons of hay, ._ 3,472,118 

" hemp and flax, 1,508 

Pounds of silk cocoons, 3,425 

" sugar, 11,102,070 

Gallons of wine, 5,162 

Pounds of wool, 9,845,295 

Pounds of hops, 447,250 

" beeswax, 52,795 

Horses and mules, 474,543 

Neat cattle,... 1,911,244 

Sheep, 5,118,777 

Swine, 1,900,065 

Value of poultry, _. $1,153,413 

" dairy products, $10,496,021 

" home-made family goods, . $4,636,547 

" productions in market gar- 
dens, $499,126 

" nurseryand florist produce, $75,980 

If, in a survey of the progress and present condition of agriculture, we find in it 
many errors of theory to condemn, and many absurd prejudices and practices to 
be removed, we also find grounds to hope for its continual advancement. It is a 
science which appeals to us not merely by our desire to increase the public 
wealth, enlarge the public intelligence, and elevate the standard of public virtue, 
but as the surest guarantee for the perpetuity of that policy of peace and domes- 
tic contentment which is indispensable to the existence of democratic institutions. 

Horticulture was practised as a merely useful art from an early period. A 
great variety of fine fruits and plants was introduced soon after the war of the 
revolution, by William Prince and James Bloodgood, the proprietors of two of 
the oldest and most extensive nurseries in the state. Many of our citizens, whom 
pleasure or business called abroad, sent home rare and valuable varieties of trees 
and plants. Chancellor Livingston, and other members of the same family, took 
especial pains to introduce seeds of plants likely to prove desirable here, and 
the trees thus planted, among which are many fine varieties of cherries and 
other fruits, may still be seen at the manor garden in Clermont. 

The New- York Horticultural Society was founded by a combination of ama- 
teurs and practical gardeners, in 1818. The first president was Thomas Storm, 


and among its most efficient members wei'e Dr. Hosack, De Witt Clinton, Dr. 
Mitchill, and Martin Hoffman ; and also Messrs. Wilson, Bridgeman and Hogg, 
who were practical gardeners. Under the fostering care of this society, horti- 
culture acquired a rapid growth. The New- York Farmer and Horticultural 
Repository, edited by S. Fleet, one of the first gardening newspapers, was an 
organ of this society. 

The Domestic Horticultural Society was established in western New- York in 
the year 1828. John Greig, of Canandaigua, was its first president; and among 
its earliest and most valuable members was David Thomas, of Cayuga, before 
mentioned as an engineer on the Erie canal. Mr. Thomas is a scientific and 
practical cultivator. A society was established at Newburgh during the same 
year, and another at Albany in 1829. The late Jesse Buel was the first president 
of the latter, and although mainly distinguished as an agriculturist, contributed 
much, both by his writings and by means of a nursery which he established, to 
promote the increase of horticultural knowledge in the northern and western 
portions of the state. 

At the present time the taste for horticulture is very generally diffused, and 
particular departments are assigned to the subject in the annual exhibitions of 
the American Institute in New- York, and the State Agricultural Society. There 
are five societies devoted to its interests, and no less than twenty commercial 
gardens or nurseries ; the most extensive general nurseries at present in the 
Union being those of Messrs. Wilcomb & King, (formerly Bloodgood's), at 
Flushing, L. I., and Messrs. Downing, at Newburgh. 

The "Economy of the Kitchen Garden," by William Wilson, the first origi- 
nal work on the subject published in the state, appeared in 1828 ; and " A Short 
Treatise on Horticulture," l:)y William Prince, in the same year. Since that 
time, the " Gardeners' Assistant," by Thomas Bridgeman, has gone through eight 
editions. " A Treatise on the Vine," published in 1830, and the " Pomological 
Manual," in 1831, by William R. Prince, have been among the most useful and 
interesting works published in the country. Mr. Loudon's valuable gardening 


works have had considerable influence in diffusing horticultural knowledge, in 
the absence of native treatises better adapted to our climate ; and the gardening 
works of English authors still have a large circulation in the state. Never- 
theless, horticulture, as an art of design, has received very sparing attention. 
Fine foreign trees and plants have been cultivated in many places with success, 
but examples of elegant arrangement haver arely occurred. The late M. A. 
Parmentier, of Brooklyn, Long Island, who emigrated from Holland and esta- 
bHshed a botanical nursery, (since destroyed,) first attempted to introduce the 
natural style of laying out grounds. One of the best specimens of his taste is 
the seat of the late Dr. Hosack, at Hyde Park, on the Hudson.* 

During the past year a desideratum in horticulture has been supplied by " A 
Treatise on Landscape Gardening," with a view to the improvement of country 
residences, by A. J. Downing ; and more recently we have been favored with a 
volume entitled " Designs for Cottage Residences," by the same author. 

Civil engineering has been admitted to rank as a liberal profession within our 
own times, both here and in England. Canals and railroads have been constructed 
so rajaidly, that it would be almost impossible to distinguish among the engineers, 
and award to each the merit justly due. We have mentioned a discovery of 
valuable hydraulic cement. We may add, that very accurate knowledge has 
been obtained of the comparative strength, durability and economy of materials, 
and that a distinguishing characteristic of our public works, is the nice adapta- 
tion of means to the ends to be accomplished. 

The aqueduct by which the city of New- York is supplied with water, will be 
an enduring monument, and a description of that work will, perhaps, convey the 
best information which can be given of the present condition of mechanical 
science. The conduit commences at the Croton river, in Westchester county, 
where a dam has been constructed, raising the water of that stream 40 feet 
above its natural level, and 166 feet above mean tide. The aqueduct is pro- 
longed down the valley of the Croton to the shore of the Hudson, thence through 

♦ Notes on Agriculture were received from Willis Gatlord, Esq. and notes on Horticulture from A. J. Downing, Esq. 


the villages of Sing-Sing, Tarrytown, Dobb's ferry and Yonkers, where, leaving 
the Hudson and crossing the valley of Sawmill river and Tibbitts brook, it gains 
the summit between the Hudson and East rivers, and continues on that summit 
to the Harlem river, a distance of 32-880 miles of continuous masonry. Iron 
pipes are then laid 1450 feet, on an arched bridge, across the valley of the 
Harlem river, at an elevation of 114 feet above high tide. After crossing the 
valley, the aqueduct of masonry is resumed and continued two miles to the Man- 
hattan valley, which is passed with iron pipes, descending 102 feet to the bottom 
of the valley, and continued rising again to its opposite side, the distance across 
the valley being 0-792 mile. The masonry conduit is again resumed, and cross- 
ing the Asylum ridge and the Clendinning valley, is continued 2*173 miles to the 
receivina reservoir at Yorkville. This basin is 1826 feet long and 836 feet 
wide, and including its embankments, contains an area of thirty-five acres divided 
into two parts ; from thence iron pipes are laid beneath the surface of streets 
2 '176 miles, to the distributing reservoir at Murray hill, three miles from the 
City Hall. 

This reservoir is 420 feet square, and covers four acres. It is divided 
into two equal parts, and has an average elevation of 44' 05 feet above the 
level of the adjacent streets. The length of the aqueduct, including the iron 
pipes and reservoir, from the Croton dam to the receiving reservoir, is 45-562 
miles ; and including the elevated surface of the Croton river, and the large 
mains conducting the water from the distributing reservoir through the central 
parts of the city, the entire length is 50 miles, of which the masonry conduit 
constitutes 37-067 miles. The rocks through which the line of the aqueduct 
passes are two marble quarries in Westchester, and for the residue of the route 
gneiss of many varieties. A large portion of the open cutting, and nearly 
all the tunnel cutting, have been made through rocks, more than 400,000 feet 
of which have been excavated. The formation of the ground is very irre- 
gular. There are on the line sixteen tunnels, varying in length from 160 feet to 
1263 feet, and being in aggregate length 6841 feet. The height of the ridges 


above the great level at the tunnels, ranges from 25 feet to 75 feet. In West- 
chester county, the line of the aqueduct is crossed by twenty-five streams, at 
depths varying from 12 to 70 feet below the grade line. Besides these there 
are numerous other brooks and valleys of less depth, over which culverts are 
constructed. The most important valleys on the Manhattan island, over which 
the aqueduct passes, are the Manhattan valley, Clendinning valley and Bowne's 

The bottom of the aqueduct is an inverted arch ; the chord or span line is 6 
feet 9 inches, and the versed sine 9 inches ; the masonry of the side walls rises 
four feet above the springing line of the inverted arch, with a bevel of one inch to 
a foot rise, or four inches on each side, which makes the width at the top of the 
side walls 7 feet 5 inches. These walls form the abutments of the roofing arch, 
which is a semicircle, having a radius of 3 feet 8 J inches, or a chord line of 7 
feet 5 inches. The greatest interior width of the aqueduct is 7 feet 5 inches, 
and the gi-eatest height 8 feet 5 J inches. The area of the interior is 53 '34 
square feet. 

The plan, dimensions and kind of masonry, are as follows : In excavation, a 
bed of concrete masonry is laid down as a foundation ; it is laid level across the 
bottom, 3 inches thick at the centre of the inverted arch, and curved on its upper 
surface to form a bed for the arch, which brings it 12 inches thick at the spring 
line, and is carried 3 inches thick under the side walls, or abutments. The 
abutments are 2 feet 8 inches thick at the spring line of the inverted arch, and 
2 feet at the top or spring line of the roofing arch. The inverted arch is of brick 
4 inches thick ; the roofing arch is also of brick 8 inches thick. The abutments 
or side walls are of rubble stone, with a brick facing of 4 inches thick. Span- 
drels, of stone, are carried up sohd from the exterior angle of side walls on a 
line that is tangent to the arch. When the bed of concrete is formed for the 
inverted arch, a heavy course of plastering is laid over it, on which the arch is 
laid. When the stone work of the side walls was up, the face that received the 
brick lining had its irregularities filled with successive courses of plastering, and 

Intr. 18 


finally an uniform course of a quarter of an inch in thickness over the whole, in 
front of which the brick facing was laid up. A course of plastering was also put 
over the roofing arch. The concrete masonry was formed by mixing one part 
hydraulic cement, three parts clean sand, and three parts fine broken stone. 
The masonry was all laid up in hydraulic cement. The mortar for the stone 
work was composed of one measure of cement to one of clean sharp sand ; and 
that for the brick and plastering consisted of one part of cement to two of sand. 
The area of a cross section of the masonry is. 

Concrete masonry, 4,605 square feet. 

Stone inside walls,... _ 21,572 

Do in spandrels, 2,690 '• 


Brick in arches and side facing, 13,658 square feet. 

Total, 42,525 " 

In embankment the concrete masonry is laid on foundation walls, has one foot 
extra thickness and three feet in extra width. The base of the side walls is also 
increased, and the proportion of cement to sand in concrete and mortar for stone 
work, is 1 to 2 J feet. 

The proportion of embankment to excavation on the line of the aqueduct, is 
about as one to eight. The aqueduct is covered with earth of sufficient depth to 
protect it from frost. To pass streams, there are one hundred and fourteen cul- 
verts, the aggregate length of which is 7,959 feet, and varying in span from 
IJ feet to 25 feet. There are five road culverts from 1 to 20 feet span. All 
the culverts are constructed in the most improved manner, laid in hydraulic 

There are thirty-three ventilators, to give free circulation of air through the 
aqueduct. They rise fourteen feet above the surface of the ground, tapering 
towards the top, and are of circular form, constructed of well dressed stone, and 
have an aperture of fifteen inches in diameter : they are placed at a distance 
from each other of one mile. 

There are six waste-weirs, constructed of well dressed stone, having cast-iron 


gates and gate frames fitted to stone jambs and lintels. The frames are faced 
with brass for the gates to work against. The gates are operated by a wrought- 
iron screw rod, with a brass nut working in a cast-iron socket. The water falls 
from the gates into a well, and is carried off' through a culvert. The waste-weirs 
are protected by stone buildings with brick arch roofs. 

The dam in the Croton river, as first constructed, was provided with a waste- 
weir 90 feet wide, which, in the high flood of January, 1841, proved insufficient 
to pass the water, and a breach was made in the embankment about 200 feet 
long. This breach was then filled by a structure of hydraulic stone masonry, 
adopting 180 feet thereof as an additional waste-weir. The gi'eatest height of 
the weir of the dam is 40 feet above the low water mark, and 55 feet above the 
bed of the river. The width of masonry at low water line of the river is 61 feet. 
The form on the lower face commences on a curve described by a radius of 55 
feet, and continues to within about 10 feet of the top, when a reversed curve, on a 
radius of 10 feet carries the face over and meets the back line of the wall. The 
back line is carried up vertically, with occasional offsets. The main body of the 
work is laid up of rough stone ; the curve face of large and closely cut stone 
with four heavy courses at the bottom dovetailed together ; the joints cut to the 
line of radius of curve. Above the masonry an embankment of masonry is filled 
in in width 275 feet on the bottom, with a slope of 1 to 5 on the up-stream face. 
The north end of the new weir is terminated by an abutment which rises 12 
i'eet above it. 

From the toe of the masonry an apron is extended 35 feet, composed of hewn 
tnnber, well secured, and filled for 16 feet from the stone work, with concrete 
masonry ; and the remainder with loose stone, and the whole covered with a 
course of six inch white elm plank. A second apron is made, extending 30 feet 
further. At 300 feet below the main dam is a second dam nine feet high, which 
sets the water over the apron of the main dam, and thus forms a pool to check 
the water as it falls over the weir. About 120 feet of the foundation of the dam 
is of concrete masonry, laid down on a very firm hardpan, and the remainder 


ui5on timber piers, the spaces between which are filled with concrete masonry. 
The dam sets the water of the river back about five miles, and forms a reservoir 
covering about 400 acres. 

The gateway which guards the entrance to the aqueduct, is placed on the 
solid rock, in a situation not exposed to the floods. The gate chamber is pro- 
vided with a double set of gates ; one set of guard gates set in cast-iron frames ; 
the other, a set of regulating gates made of gun metal, set in frames of the same 
material. The gates are all 18 by 40 inches, and there are nine in each set, and 
they are operated by means of wrought-iron screw rods. The gate chamber 
and bulkheads are constructed of well-dressed masonry laid in hydraulic cement. 
The water is conducted from the reservoir into the gate-house by a tunnel cut 
180 feet through the rock, and flows into the bulkhead at the upper end of the 
tunnel from a level averaging 10 feet below the surface of the reservoir. The 
builders of this dam were McCullough, Black, McManus and Heiiburn. 

The Sing-Sing kill, the bottom of which is 66 feet below the grade line of the 
aqueduct, is crossed by a bridge resting on a single arch of 88 feet span and 33 
feet rise. The form of the arch is an oval drawn from five centres. The bridge 
is constructed of well dressed masonry laid in hydraulic cement. The builder 
was Andrew Young, of Philadelphia. 

The width of the Harlem river, where the aqueduct crosses it, is 620 feet at 
ordinary high water mark. The shore on the southern side is a rock rising from 
the water's edge, at an angle of about thirty degrees, to a height of 220 feet. 
On the northern side a strip of table land forms the shore, and extends back 
from the river four hundred feet to the foot of the rocky hill, which rises at an 
angle of about twenty degrees, to the level of the aqueduct. The table land is 
elevated about 30 feet above the river. The channel of the river to which the 
water is reduced at very low tides, is 300 feet wide, and the greatest depth is 
16 feet. The bridge which is now in progress of construction, crosses this valley 
on eight arches, each of 80 feet span, resting on piers that are (at each extre- 
mity and in the centre) twenty feet wide at the spring line of arches, with in- 


termediate piers that' are 14 feet wide at the spring line. On the south of this 
range of large arches, there is one, and on the north, there are six arches, each 
of 50 feet span, resting on piers seven feet wide at the spring line, and two abut- 
ments that terminate the arch work of the bridge. From the abutments a con- 
tinuous line of wall of dry stone work is extended to the gate chambers on each 
side. The length of the bridge is 1-150 feet. The height of the river pier above 
high water line, is GO feet to the spring of the arches, and 95 feet above the 
lowest foundation. The arches are semicircular, and the height 100 feet to the 
soffit or under side at crown ; to the top of the parapets 114 feet above ordinary 
high water, and 149 feet above the lowest foundation. The width on the top of 
the parapets is 21 feet. The space between the parapets is arranged to receive 
and protect from frost two cast iron pipes, each four feet in diameter, and lying 
12 feet below the grade line of the aqueduct, and connected at each end of the 
bridge with the masonry aqueduct by gate chambers. To make the capacity 
of the pipes for conveying water equal to that of the aqueduct, an extra fall of two 
feet has been given across the bridge, and the aqueduct on the southern side 
is depressed two feet below the grade to accommodate this arrangement. The 
utmost care and skill have been bestowed in securing durable foundations for the 
piers. The material of the bridge is well dressed granite. While the bridge 
remains unfinished, the water is conveyed in iron pipes in the shape of an in- 
verted syphon. The immense and expensive structure which has been de- 
scribed, was deemed necessary, by the legislature, to prevent obstruction of 
navigation of the Harlem river. 

The greatest depression of the Clendinning valley is 50 feet below the top of 
the aqueduct, and the valley is 1,900 feet across. Streets cross the line of the 
aqueduct in this valley at right angles. The aqueduct passes the valley on a 
bridge, and archways are constructed over three of the streets. The archways 
for each street are one for carriage way of thirty feet span, and an arch on each 
side for side walks of ten and a half feet span. The style of masonry is the 
same as that of the Sing-Sing bridge. That part of the bridge which has no 


provision for street arches is composed of a continuous wall of masonry, carried 
up on a bevel of one-twelfth its rise to the grade line of the aqueduct, where it 
is thirty feet wide. The outside or face of this wall, for one foot in breadth, is 
laid in hydraulic mortar, and the remainder is di-y masoniy, consisting of courses 
of large stone, with the interstices thoroughly filled with small broken stones. 

The receiving reservoir is formed with earth banks, the interior having 
regular rubble walls, and the outside is protected by a stone wall laid up on a 
slope of one horizontal to three vertical ; the face laid in cement mortar, and the 
inside dry. The inside is protected by a dry slope wall laid on the face of the 
embankment, which slopes one and one-half horizontal to one vertical. The em- 
bankments are raised four feet above the top water line, and vary in width from 
eighteen to twenty-one feet. Vaults or brick archways are constructed, in which 
iron pipes are laid, so arranged that the pipes from the northern division of the 
reservoir connect with those of the southern division, and thence pass off to the 
distributing reservoir, and to supply the adjacent districts. The vault on the 
eastern side is 540 feet long and is 16 feet span ; that on the western side is 400 
feet long and 8 feet span. The pipes are all provided with stop-cocks, and so 
arranged that they can receive water from either division, except one pipe from 
each division leading to the distributing reservoir. A pipe is put through the 
division bank with a stop-cock, to allow the water, or not, to pass from one divi- 
sion into the other. The aqueduct insersects the reservoir at right angles with 
its westerly line, and 252 feet south of the northwesterly corner. At this point 
a gate chamber is constructed, with one set of gates to pass the water into the 
northern division, and another set to pass it into a continued conduit of masonry 
constructed within the embankment of the reservoir, to the angle of the south- 
ern division, which the water there enters by a brick sluice. This arrangement 
gives the power of directing the water into either division, or both, at the same 
time. A waste-weir is constructed in the division bank. It has not been deemed 
necessary to complete the excavation of this reservoir. It has at present a capa- 
city for 150,000,000 imperial gallons. 


The distributing reservoir is built upon ground higher than any part ol' the 
city south of it. The walls are built upon a foundation sunk five feet below the 
grade of the streets, and are of hydraulic stone masonry, constructed with open- 
ings, to reduce the quantity of masonry and give a more enlarged base. The 
openings are made by an exterior and an interior wall, connected at every ten 
feet by cross walls, which are carried up to within seventeen feet of the top, and 
then connected by a brick arch thrown from one to the other, and the spandrels 
between them levelled uj) solid, and a course of concrete put on the whole six 
inches thick, which reaches a level ten feet below the top on which the exterior 
wall is carried up single to the top. The exterior wall has a bevel of one to six, 
and is uniformly four feet thick from the bottom to the top of the connecting 
arches. The inner wall is carried up plumb with off-sets ; the lower section six 
feet thick ; the middle section five feet thick. The span between the exterior and 
interior walls at 41 feet below the top is 14 feet, or 24 feet from the outside of 
exterior to the inside of interior walls, and the span between them at the spring 
of the connecting arches, in consequence of the bevel of the exterior wall, is 
reduced to 9 feet and 9 inches ; and from outside of exterior to inside of 
interior walls, 17 '75 feet. The cross walls are four feet thick at the bottom, and 
have an off-set of six inches on each side, at eight feet below the spring line of 
the connecting arches, and have openings at a suitable level near the bottom, to 
allow the construction of drains, and to permit persons to pass in and examine 
the work. 

On each corner of the reservoir, pilasters 40 feet in width are raised, j^roject- 
ing four feet from the main walls, and in the centre on the streets and on the 
5th avenue, are pilasters 60 feet wide, and projecting six feet. The pilaster in 
the centre on the 5th avenue, rises seven feet above the main wall, and all the 
others four above. Doors are placed in the central pilasters on 40th and 42d 
streets, which give access to the pipe chambers. In the central pilaster an en- 
trance is made by a door to a stairway that leads to the top of the walls. On 
the outside walls is an Egyptian cornice, which accords with the general style of 


the work. Inside of the walls of masonry, a thorough puddled embankment of 
suitable earth is formed, 58J feet wide at the line of the reservoir bottom, and 
sloping on the inside face 1 J to 1 per 24 feet high, and making, with the walls on 
top, a width of 17 feet; the face of the banks is hned with a course of rubble 
hydraulic masonry 15 inches thick, and coped with dressing stone. The bottom 
is an impervious hardpan, on which two feet of puddled earth is laid, and this 
covered by 12 inches of hydraulic cement. The reservoir is divided into two 
divisions by a wall of hydraulic masonry ; the wall is 19 feet thick at the bottom, 
6§ feet at top water line, and 4 feet at the top. In this wall a waste-weir is placed, 
with a well of two falls, together 52 feet, from which the waste water enters a 
sewer and passes off about one mile to the Hudson. In each division there is a 
waste cock to draw the water from the bottom. The reservoir is designed for 36 
feet of water, and when full, will stand 115 feet above mean tide. The walls rise 
four feet above the water line. An iron railing is to be placed around the walls 
on the top of the cornice. The capacity of this reservoir is 20,000,000 imperial 

The general declivity of the aqueduct is 0'021 foot per hundred, or a fraction 
over 13j inches per mile. The Croton reservoir, which has received the name 
of Croton lake, is available for 500,000,000 imperial gallons of water, above the 
level that would allow the aqueduct to discharge 35,000,000 gallons per day. 
The flow of the Croton river is about 27,000,000 of gallons in twenty-four hours 
at the lowest stages. The work was commenced in May, 1837, and so far com- 
pleted that the water was admitted into the distributing reservoir on the fourth 
of July last. The survey, plans and estimates of the work were made by pro- 
fessor Douglass, who was succeeded as chief engineer by John B. Jervis. The 
aqueduct has been constructed at the expense of the city of New- York, under 
the direction and supervision of commissioners appointed by the governor and 
senate. The following persons have been commissioners : Stephen Allen, Walter 
Bowne, Benjamin M. Brown, Saul Alley, Charles Dusenbury, William M. Fox, 
Thomas T. Woodruff and Samuel R. Childs. The present commissioners are, 


Samuel Stevens, John D. Ward, Benjamin Birdsall and Zebedee Rino-. The 
cost of the work is about twelve millions of dollars.* 

In 1823, a place was assigned to the science of civil engineering in the pro- 
gramme of studies at the United States military academy at West-Point. This 
excellent national institution traces its origin to the recommendation of Washing- 
ton. It was founded in 1802, and having received especial care and attention 
under the administration of Jefferson, was enlarged in 1812, on the earnest recom- 
mendation of Madison. The school consists of two hundred and fifty cadets, 
divided into four companies, and taught in the field all the duties of the military 
profession. They are divided, for theoretical instruction, into four classes, and 
four years are required to complete the entire course of studies. That course 
includes mathematics, the French language, English composition, rhetoric, geo- 
graphy, topographical drawing, natural and experimental philosophy, chemistry, 
landscape drawing, engineering, the science of war, ethics, constitutional law, 
infantry tactics, artillery, pyrotechny, mineralogy and geology .f 

Although our civil architecture is open to criticism, yet several of our state and 
municipal edifices furnish evidence of improving taste. The custom house, the 
exchange, the university and the halls of justice in New- York ; the exchange, 
public edifices and academic structures in Albany, and the lunatic asylum at 
Utica, and the state prison at Auburn, although they exhibit departures from 
severe canons, are nevertheless believed to be creditable to the enterprise of our 
citizens. Not much can be said in praise of the monumental branch. Notwith- 
standing some puerility of detail, when we compare St. Paul's and the old Tri- 
nity with more recent structures, we might infer that sacred architecture was 
declining. Our domestic architecture has improved with the increase of wealth 
in private life. While we cannot now, or ever hereafter, compare with the 
palaces of individuals who enjoy hereditary wealth and rank in other countries, 

* An account of the Croton aqueduct, prepared by J. B. Jertis, chief engineer, was received from Samuel Stevens, 
the president of the board of commissioners. See plates of the aqueduct at the end of the volume, 
t Notes concerning the Military Academy were received from Colonel De Russv, U. S. A. 

Intr. 19 


we may safely claim, that for suitableness to our social state, and for all that can 
minister to domestic convenience and comfort, the edifices of our citizens are not 
surpassed in any other community* Our naval architecture may perhaps justly 
be regarded as a peculiar triumph of American genius. Our packet ships en- 
gaged in foreign trade, and especially the steam palaces which float upon the 
Hudson river. Long Island Sound and the lakes, combine the elements of strength 
and beauty with great speed and perfection of internal arrangements. While 
the civilized world is in the full enjoyment of the advantages of steam naviga- 
tion, the people of New- York, at least, need not to be reminded of their obliga- 
tions to her own eminent citizens, Robert Fulton, John Stevens and Robert R. 
Livingston. Experiments on steam navigation were commenced in 1791, by 
John Stevens, of Hoboken. He invented the first tubular boiler. His first 
attempts were made with a rotary engine, for which, however, he speedily sub- 
stituted one of Watts'. With various forms of vessels, and different modifica- 
tions of propelling apparatus, he impelled boats. In 1797, chancellor Livingston 
built a steamboat on the Hudson, and the legislature granted an exclusive privi- 
lege of steam navigation, on condition that he should, within a year, produce a 
vessel impelled by steam at the rate of three miles per hour. Being unable to 
perform this condition, the privilege failed. Livingston and Stevens united their 
efforts with Nicholas Roosevelt in 1800, but without success. Chancellor Living- 
ston pursued his favorite object in Paris, where he engaged the efforts of Fulton. 
Fulton, after a trial of various other apparatus for propulsion, decided that the 
paddle wheels possessed the greatest advantage. He then planned a mode of 
attaching wheels to Watts' engine, and finding the experiment successful in a trial 
on the Seine, it was determined by him and Livingston to build a large boat 
upon the Hudson. He then proceeded to England, and personally superintended 
the construction of a new engine by Watts and Bolton. This engine was re- 
ceived in New- York in 1S06, and the vessel prepared for it was set in motion in 

» Notes on Civil Engineering and Architecture were received from Prof, Mahan, of the United States Military Academy 
of West-Point. 


1807, the legislature having extended the law. During this time Stevens had 
persevered in his efforts at home, and only three or four days after Fulton's suc- 
cess vi^as established, Stevens had a boat in motion vv^ith the required velocity ; 
and as his experiments w^ere entirely separate from those of Fulton, he seems 
justly entitled to divide the honor which, by the popular judgment, is exclu- 
sively awarded to Fulton.* 

The labors in hydrography of Edmund M. Blunt and his sons, deserve espe- 
cial notice. The American Coast Pilot was first published in 1796, and was 
then a small jjamphlet of about eighty pages, containing an account of the chief 
harbors in New-England, with sailing directions, and has been, by labors and 
additions through forty years, augmented to a volume of about one thousand 
pages, giving an accurate account and directions for navigating the eastern coast 
of America, from Labrador to Cape Horn, including that of the West India islands. 

While the country, and especially this state, has been steadily rising into great 
commercial and maritime importance, the government, until 1830, manifested a 
total neglect of hydrographical science ; yet through the persevering enterprise 
of Mr. Blunt, there are to be found in the Coast Pilot as full and complete 
directions for the navigation of the American coast, as those furnished with the 
aid of government in other countries. 

No actual surveys were made of this part of the American coast, until 1822, 
when Mr. Blunt surveyed the harbor of New- York, and its eastern entrance. 
In 1827 he extended his surveys to Long Island Sound, and made an elaborate 
survey of the coasts of that arm of the sea, which has proved to be a survey of 
the greatest utility to commerce. Some estimate may be formed of the extent 
of this private enterprise, when it is recollected that the coast to be surveyed 
was two hundred and fifty miles in length, and that many islands and bays are 
comprehended in the survey. 

Since that time the great triangulation of the coast, by the authority of the 
federal government, has been extended over the same coast, under the direction 

...i-i. I ■ ■.■■—-■■■ m •'• -'■■ 

• Encyclopffidia Americana, 


of professor Hasler as principal, and James Ferguson of Albany, and Edmund 
Blunt of New- York, assistants. 

The charts used throughout the United States, both of the coast of the United 
States and the West Indies, are published by E. and G. W. Blunt, and they 
have entirely superseded the foreign charts, being original drawings, continuing 
the new discoveries and corrections with the general outline adopted in the 
English charts. 

In connection with this subject, it is proper to state that directions have been 
given for an accurate triangulation of the Niagara river at Niagara falls, and the 
result will be given in one of the following volumes. 

Unhaj^pily there is not in this, nor in any other country, a taste sufficiently 
general for the study of the useful arts. Occasionally a brilliant invention arrests 
the attention of mankind, and homage is involuntarily yielded to a discoverer 
who has contributed to the well-being and happiness of our race. But the laws 
of mechanics, although fixed, invariable and easy of comprehension, remain un- 
studied and unregarded. Neglecting inquiry into the processes by which results 
have been attained, society is content to pay its tribute of admiration for the 
results themselves. Inventions are brought into general use, and curiosity con- 
cerning the inventor, and the progress of his discovery, ceases altogether ; or if, 
like the printing press and the steam engine, the invention marks a new era in 
the march of civilization, a confused association of the author's name with his 
invention takes possession of the public mind, and millions repeat his praises 
without at all inquiring into the justice of the award. Although mechanical in- 
ventors are busy among us, we have few trophies of the genius of our citizens 
besides the application of the steam engine to navigation. MacAdam, the in- 
ventor of the well-known improvement in the mode of constructing common 
roads, was a native of New- York, although his genius received its development 
in England, whence we have received his invention. Paul K. Hodge has 
published a work called " The Steam Engine, its origin and gradual improve- 
ment from the time of Heron to the present day, as adapted to manufactures, lo- 


comotion and navigation," which is held in high esteem. The author has the 
merit of having invented the steam fire-engine, a machine of great importance in 
populous cities. James Renwick has written several valuable treatises, among 
which we may mention " The Application of the Science of Mechanics to Prac- 
tical Purposes ;" and also a work " On the Steam Engine." Alexander S. Byrne 
has published " Observations on the best mode of propelling ships." William C. 
Redfield's " Essays on Meteorology," and on " The Causes of Hurricanes," have 
attracted much attention in that abstruse and unexplored field of science. It 
must be admitted that he has ably defended his theory in opposition to that of 
professor Espy. The labors of j^rofessor Davies in the science of pure mathe- 
matics, and those of professor Mahan in that of mixed mathematics, and its ap- 
plications in civil engineering and kindred departments, conducted, as they have 
been, at the United States military academy in West-Point, are claimed as a 
valuable portion of the scientific property of the state. Doctor Nott's improve- 
ment of furnaces for burning anthracite coal, has been especially useful in the 
manufacture of machinery and in the improvement of steam navigation, as well 
as conducive to health and the comforts of social life. An important and 
valuable work has just issued from the press, entitled " A descriptive and histo- 
rical account of hydraulic and other machines for raising water, ancient and 
modern," by Thomas Ewbank of New- York. The author, who is deeply versed 
in mechanical science, has, by a collection of rare and curious facts in the pro- 
gress of invention, jaresented in a spirited yet unaffected manner, attempted to 
disturb the popular indifference to mechanism, and to invest that science with 
the interest of history and the charm of romance. His extensive, minute and 
accurate account of the more important engines and machines now in use, ren- 
ders his work exceedingly useful to the student in that department.* 

From notices of practical applications of science, we pass to a brief review of 
the progress of literature, and shall, for obvious reasons, dwell most upon such 
productions as especially illustrate points in the character, condition or circum- 

♦ Notes on the Useful Arts were received from RuFus W. Griswold, Esq. 


Stances of the state. The history of the races which inhabited the American 
continent previously to the planting of the European colonies, is a vast field im- 
perfectly explored. Ancient fortifications erected anterior to the discovery of 
America, have been found in all parts of the state. De Witt Clinton, after 
personal examination, described the ruins of fortifications in Pompey, Onondaga 
county. In several parts of that town, there are remains of ancient populous 
settlements. The site of the ruins is on the high around which divides the 
waters which flow into Chesapeake bay, from those which seek the ocean 
through the gulf of St. Lawrence ; and the formations between this ridge and 
the shore of Lake Ontario indicate an abrasion of rocks, and a recession of the 
waters by which the valley has been exposed. The ruins are similar to those 
found in the interior of the continent ; from an examination of which our anti- 
quarians have, with great unanimity, deduced the opinion that a vast population, 
many ages since, existed on the continent, having large towns, possessing military 
defences, and pursuing agriculture, and more advanced in civilization than the 
aboriginal nations which have inhabited the same country since the European 
discovery. Many interesting relics found in such ruins have been preserved in 
the Albany Institute, especially utensils made of pottery. There is another class 
of ruins which furnish traces of visits by Europeans, of which there is no histo- 
rical account. The Indians found in the settlement of the colony, have no 
reliable tradition concerning either of these descriptions of ruins. A few rude 
characters etched upon the rocks are all the enduring hieroglyphics, found in the 
northern j^ortion of the continent east of the Hudson ; and these are unintelligible, 
although the learned and ingenious Schoolcraft supposes that he has discovered 
a key to unlock the mystery. Monuments every where remain, but they bear 
no records of the eloquent, the wise and the brave, who may have flourished in 
a long lapse of ages. Even the origin of the present aboriginal races is involved 
in mystery, and the curious and learned are equally divided on the question, 
whether the ancestors of these races were drifted upon the southern division of 
the continent, from the islands of the South Sea, or whether they were of 


Tartar origin, and found their way there by crossing Behring's straits. Yet 
another theory derives the aborigines from the Northmen of Europe. This 
theory is based upon the resemblance of the American Indians to the Esqui- 
maux, and between the Esquimaux and the Laplanders. Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill 
maintained this hypothesis. Henry Wheaton, now minister of the United 
States at the court of Berlin, has pursued investigations which, together with 
those of the Swedish antiquaries, have produced a general conviction that the 
Northmen visited the shores of New-England several centuries before the dis- 
covery of America by Columbus ; and it is argued that if the bold adventurers 
in the age of Eric the Red could traverse the North seas from Norway to 
Greenland, and thence to the American coast, spirits equally brave might have 
done the same ages before. Other speculators have attempted to trace the 
descent of the American Indians from the Canaanites driven from Palestine by 
Joshua. Grotius and Martyr believed that Yucatan was first peopled by Chris- 
tian Ethiopians ; while some regard those races as descendants of the long lost 
ten and a half tribes of the children of Israel.* 

The first colonial historian of the Six Nations was Cadwallader Golden, and 
his work is valuable although it reaches only to a very short period subsequent 
to the peace of Ryswick. The work is certainly good authority as a record of 
facts, and manifests a benevolent spirit and an inquiring genius. It is especially 
interesting also because it shows that each of the Five Nations was a distinct re- 
public, while they were all bound in a confederacy with a grand central council 
at Onondaga. Golden, however, is supposed to have erred in adopting_the French 
opinion, that the Five Nations had only recently occupied the country in which 
they were found at the time of the discovery of the continent. David Gusick, 
an educated Tuscarora Indian, about twenty years ago published a history of the 
Six Nations, derived from their traditions. This work, which as a merely literary 
work is without merit, nevertheless establishes the fact, if any reliance can be 
placed on Indian tradition, that the five nations resided in the country now con- 

• Adair, Boudinot, Miller, M. M. Nojh. 


stituting western New- York, for a very long period anterior to the first visit of the 
Europeans. But Cusick's chronology is almost as wild as that of the Chinese 
or the Hindoos, for he gives accounts of the reigns of a long hne of kings, reach- 
ing through a period of thousands of years. There are two points, however, in 
the traditions of the Six Nations which are both curious and important, to wit, the 
resemblance between their cosmogony and that of the Hindoos, and the fact that 
the Noachian deluge is incorporated in their legends, as it has been found in all 
the barbarous nations on the eastern continent. A discourse, pronounced before 
the Historical Society of New- York, in the year 1811, by De Witt Clinton, pre- 
sents the most useful compendium of the history of the Six Nations. Sir William 
Johnson wrote a series of letters to Arthur Lee of Virginia, upon the manners, 
customs and government of the Six Nations, but it is not known whether the work 
is extant. The reverend Samuel F. Jarvis, then of New- York, but now of Con- 
necticut, in 1819, produced a learned and eloquent treatise on the religion of tlie 
North American Indians, in the form of a discourse before the New- York Histo- 
rical Society. William Smith, in his History of New- York, has given the history 
of the Six Nations, but it is little more than a compendium of Colden's writings 
on the same subject. 

The most elaborate and authentic modern work upon the origin of the Ameri- 
can red man, and the antiquities of that race, is that recently given to the public 
by Alexander W. Bradford. His researches and inquiries embrace the wide 
region from the snow huts of the Esquimaux to the palace of the Incas. His 
conclusions are, that all the various nations and tribes inhabiting America at the 
time of its discovery were derived from one primitive civilized source, and that 
the emigration to this continent proceeded from southeastern Asia through the 
Indian Archipelago, and across the islands of the Pacific ocean. This theory, 
however, has yet to abide the test of inquiry. 

George Catlin spent several years among the aboriginals of the far west, and 
his volumes are curious and interesting, regarded as a sketch of the living 
manners of the inhabitants of the forest. In the department of Indian philology, 


Albert Gallatin has given us an elaborate and invaluable essay upon the struc- 
ture of the American languages, illustrating the tongues of fifty-three nations. 

William L. Stone has had the felicity to appropriate to himself the depart- 
ment of Indian biography. His first work was " The Life of Joseph Brant, 
or Thayendanegea." The title, however, does not convey a just idea of the 
work, which is a complete history of the Iroquois confederacy during the life 
of the hero. Brant was the leader of the Indian auxiliaries of the British 
army during the revolution. The work is rich in historical information, con- 
cerning the border scenes of that eventful struggle. The next work, by the 
same author, was the Life and Times of Red Jacket, or Sa-go-ye-wat-ha, the 
last great orator of the Iroquois confederacy. In this work the history of the Six 
Nations is resumed at the period of the death of Brant, and continued until the 
late dissolution of the league. The speeches of Red Jacket, preserved in this 
volume, will for all time become more interesting as authentic exhibitions of the 
rhetorical art, as it existed in a barbarian community. The Life of the Seneca 
White Woman, called by the Indians Deh-he-wa-mis, by James G. Seaver, is 
especially valuable for the light it throws upon the history of Sullivan's campaign 
in the Genesee country in 1779. The affecting story of Wyoming is known to 
every reader of Campbell's touching and most beautiful poem. But for an au- 
thentic narrative of the painful events which the poet celebrated, we are indebted 
to William L. Stone. William W. Campbell's Annals of Tryon County is a valu- 
able contribution to the history of the state, and especially instructive concerning 
the trials and sufferings of our frontier population exposed to Indian barbarities 
during the war of the revolution. Edwin James has given us a narrative, by 
John Tanner, a Virginian, who was captured by the Indians in his childhood, 
which abounds in information concerning the Indians in the interior of the con- 
tinent, and especially their manners, sentiments and customs. Tanner became 
entirely assimilated to the Indians, and this interesting book was written from 
his own lips, and may be deemed, therefore, a production of Indian autobiogra- 
phy. Washington Irving's Memoir of Philip of Poconoket, a fierce yet magna- 

Intr. 20 


nimous warrior, celebrated in the annals of Massachusetts, and who fell in a 
chivalrous effort to drive the intruding white man from the continent, is written 
with all the benevolent spirit and taste of its accomplished author. Henry R. 
Schoolcraft, a native of this state, but now a citizen of Michigan, has been a phi- 
losophic and enthusiastic student of the languages and unwritten literature of 
the red men. Besides many important contributions to our reviews, he has given 
us in his work, under the fanciful title of Algic Researches, a library of Indian 
romance, very precious, and such as no other than its author could have gathered 
and so tastefully arranged. Much assiduity has been manifested in collecting 
materials for the history of New- York. The description of the New-Nether- 
lands, by Adrian Vanderdonck, translated by Jeremiah Johnson, abounds in cu- 
rious and interesting information concerning the early condition of the colony, 
and its relations with the Indians and with the other provinces.* 

The earliest English accounts of the colony which remain, is " A Brief De- 
scription of New-York, formerly called New-Netherlands," by Daniel Denton, a 
small quarto printed in London in 1607. The author informs us. that the book 
was written with the object of giving " some directions and advice to such as 
shall go there, an account of what commodities they shall take with them, and 
the profit and pleasure that may accrue to them thereby." There is a copy of 
this curious work in the state library. 

It is perhaps not generally known that the name of the city of New- York, 
which was assumed in 1664 was, in 1673, changed to New-Orange. This fact 
appears from " A View of the City of New-Orange, as it was in the year 1673, 
with explanatory notes, by Joseph W. Moulton." This pamphlet abounds in very 
curious and apparently very authentic information concerning the manners, cus- 
toms and habits of the period to which it relates. A pamphlet was published in 
New-York,inl799, entitled "A Description of the Settlement of the Genesee Coun- 
try in the state of New- York," in a series of letters from a gentleman to his friend. 

* Notes on Antiquities and the Press were received from the Honorable Gabriel Fbbman. Notes on Female Bio- 
graphy and Indian History were received from William L. Stone, Esq. 


It is valuable, as containing a history of the progress of the settlement of western 
New- York previous to the commencement of the present century. Joseph W. 
Moulton, about twenty-five years since, associated with John Van Ness Yates, to 
produce a history of New- York, and the excellence of the volume published has 
caused a very general regret that the purpose of the authors was relinquished. 

In 1829, there appeared a work entitled " The Natural, Statistical and Civil 
History of the State of New- York," in three volumes, by James Macaulay. This 
work, although very comprehensive, was supposed to be inaccurate, and it has 
not obtained rank as a standard work. William Dunlap subsequently attempted 
to execute a history of the state, and he collected very valuable materials, but 
his talents and acquirements were not equal to so ambitious an undertaking. 
More recently Jabez D. Hammond has published two very interesting volumes, 
containing the political history of the state of New- York, from the adoption of 
the constitution until 1840. The work is written with candor and with" studied 

" A Sketch of the first settlement of the towns on Long Island," by Silas Wood, 
is a very valuable and authentic work. " The History of Long Island," by Ben- 
jamin F. Thompson, published in 1839, is rich in local incidents and illustra- 
tions of public characters. " Sketches of Rochester, with Notices of Western 
New- York," by Henry O'Reilly, published in 1838, contain very useful informa- 
tion concerning the settlement of the western counties. The publications of the 
New- York Historical Society deserve a conspicuous place among the historical 
productions of the state. This society was formed in 1804, and received a 
charter from the legislature in 1809. Among its founders were De Witt Clinton, 
Daniel D. Tompkins and Rufus King, bishop Moore, the reverend Dr. Hobart 
afterwards bishop, the reverend Drs. MUlers and Kunrey, Drs. Mitchill and 
Hosack, and other eminent citizens. The society subsequently received liberal 
aid from the state. They have collected a large and valuable hbrary of historical 
works, in manuscript as well as printed volumes, and have already pubhshed 
six volumes of transactions. At the instance of the Historical Society, the legisla- 


ture authorized the appointment of an agent to visit Europe, and select and tran^ 
scribe documents in the archives of European states, which might tend to ilkis- 
trate our colonial history. John Romeyn Brodhead, who was appointed to per- 
form that duty, has, through the liberality of the governments of the Netherlands 
and of Great Britain, explored the archives of those countries, and collected a 
mass of valuable official papers, commencing with the discovery of the colony, 
and reaching to the close of the revolution. The agent is now in Paris, and is 
improving the generous permission given him by the king of the French to ex- 
plore the public offices in that city, for materials for perfecting that part of our 
history which relates to the wars between the English and French, many scenes 
of which occurred in the western and northern parts of this state. The legisla- 
ture also, on the suggestion of the Historical Society, has, within the present 
year, completed the publication of the legislative history of the state, by giving 
to the press the journals and correspondence of the revolutionary provincial con- 
gress, the council of safety and committee of safety. But the attention of our 
historians has not been exclusively confined to our own state. Francis L. Hawks, 
under the title of " Contributions to the Ecclesiastical History of the United 
States," has written the history of the church in Virginia and Maryland. J. Fen- 
nimore Cooper's History of the Navy of the United States, is justly regarded as 
a national work. " Notices of the War of 1812," by John Armstrong, late 
secretary of war, were published in two volumes. 

The life of Philip Schuyler is yet unwritten, if we except the sketch con- 
tained m chancellor Kent's historical discourse. We have also only a brief eulo- 
gistic notice of chancellor Livingston. The fame of John Jay has been more 
fortunate, the life of that christian statesman having been fully, impartially 
and elegantly written by his son, William Jay, of Westchester county. We are 
indebted to that indefatigable national biographer, Jared Sparks, for ample 
volumes giving us the personal and political history of Gouverneur Morris. John 
C. Hamilton has produced two volumes, bringing down the life of Alexander 
Hamilton to the period when the federal constitution was formed. The work is 


executed in a manner worthy of the subject, and praise can go no higher. Theo- 
dore Sedgwick, junior, has given us a very interesting work in the Hfe of WiUiam 
Livingston, a native and long a citizen of this state, afterwards governor of New- 
Jersey. Dr. David Hosack wrote an obituary memoir of De Witt CHnton : 
the work is rather an eulogy than a biography, but the appendix to the volume 
contains a vast mass of materials illustrating the history of the state during the 
career of Clinton. James Renwick has written the life of Clinton, in a popular 
form, and it has found a place in the school district library. To Samuel L. 
Knapp we are deeply indebted for a life of Thomas Eddy, who, as has been 
seen, was distinguished in promoting the canal policy, and who for his disinte- 
rested and efficient zeal in the cause of humanity, received from his contempo- 
raries the name of the American Howard. He was the projector of the Society 
for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in the city of New- York, under 
whose government is the House of Refuge ; an institution justly pronounced by 
De Witt Clinton the " best penitentiary ever devised by the wit and established 
by the benevolence of man." The fame of Robert Fulton found worthy guar- 
dians in Cadwallader D. Colden and professor Renwick. Maryland owes great 
obligations to Henry Wheaton, of New- York, for a memoir which does ample 
justice to the eloquence, the patriotism, talent and professional learning of her 
son William Pinckney. It would be supererogatory to speak of the Life of 
Christopher Columbus, by Washington Irving. 

Among the scanty materials for ecclesiastical history which we possess, we 
refer with pleasure to the Life of the reverend John H. Livingston, by Alexander 
Gunn; the Life of the reverend Samuel J. Mills, a devoted missionary of the Colo- 
nization Society, by Gardiner Spring; and the Life of the right reverend John H. 
Hobart, by McVickar, and also a Life of the same distinguished prelate by Ber- 

Among the productions of the prolific pen of the late Robert C. Sands, is a Life of 
that celebrated naval captain, John Paul Jones. Aaron Burr was a living mystery : 
his life has been written by Matthew L. Davis, with distinguished accuracy. It 


is to be ascribed to the peculiarity of the subject that such an account, given with 
even the partiaUty of private friendship, has resulted in diminishing the interest 
which was universally felt in regard to colonel Burr so long as he lived, and which 
perhaps would have long survived him if his life had remained unwritten. The 
autobiography of colonel Trumbull throws light upon some portions of our revolu- 
tionary history, and upon many public characters during that period, as well as 
upon the progress of the fine arts. Henry C. Van Schaack has performed a filial 
duty with great propriety in his life of his fatlier, Peter Van Schaack. The 
writer's object was to vindicate the purity of motive of that eminent lawyer in 
his neutrality during the revolution. The work adds very interesting materials 
for the full history of the great conflict, which yet remains to be written. 

The National Portrait Gallery of distinguished Americans, by James Herring, 
consisting of four volumes, embellished with one hundred and forty portraits, is 
a work creditable to the literature and to the arts of the country. We can only 
notice, in passing, De Witt Clinton's Sketch of the Life of Philip Livingston, and 
the same author's Memoir of the Life of George Clinton, and similar sketches of 
Dr. Hugh Williamson and Dr. Bard, by David Hosack ; of John Wells, by Wil- 
liam Johnson ; and of general James Clinton, by William W. Campbell. William 
L. Stone's account of the noted fanatic and religious impostor Matthias, contains 
many facts which will be useful to the student in mental philosojahy. William 
Dunlap has left valuable materials for biographical literature, in his History of 
the American Theatre, and also in his History of the Arts of Design. 

We must acknowledge and lament our deficiencies in female biography. Still, 
what works of that kind we possess, are exceedingly interesting. Among these is 
a memoir of Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Bleecker, published in 1793, by her daughter 
Margaretta V. Faugeres. We are indebted to Mrs. Grant of Scotland for the 
Life of an "American Lady," by which designation was intended Mrs. Schuyler, 
the wife of colonel Schuyler of Albany. The work is not without interest as 
mere biography, but it is also exceedingly instructive concerning the manners 
and customs which prevailed in the colony during the period which was included 


in the close of the seventeenth and the commencement of the eighteenth century. 
The people of this state will cherish in grateful remembrance Isabella Graham, 
a Scottish lady, who passed the greater portion of her life in New- York, minis- 
tering to the poor, and alleviating the sorrows of the afflicted ; and who was 
prominent among the founders of the orphan asylum in that city. A memoir of 
her life has been written by Divie Bethune. The jDoet Southey has said that 
the annals of English literature did not furnish a more brilliant example of pre- 
cocious genius than Lucretia Maria Davidson. Her biography has been written 
by Miss Sedgwick. That it has been written well and justly, the name of the 
authoress is a sufficient guaranty. The genius of Margaret Miller Davidson, a 
younger sister of Lucretia, at a very early age produced fruits equally ripe, and 
which have been gathered and given to the public by the kind and gentle hand 
of Washington Irving. We conclude these notes of female biography with men- 
tioning two works recently published, one a Memoir of Lucy Hooper, with 
Selections fronj her Poetical Remains, by John Keese. The memoir is a discri- 
minating narrative of the life and character of a young lady of genius, and of 
deep and pure affections. The other work is the " The Missionary's Daughter," 
being a memoir of Lucy Goodale Thurston, by Mrs. A. P. Cummings. The 
subject was a daughter of one of the devoted band of missionaries in the Sand- 
wich Islands, whose brief history is affecting and instructive. 

Our library of travels is already quite voluminous. At the hazard of omit- 
ting many equally deserving of notice, we mention the following : 

Travels in England, France, Spain, and the Barbary States, in 1813, '14, '15, 
by Mordecai M. Noah ; 1819. A Tour from the city of New- York to Detroit, 
by William Darby ; 1819. Travels to the Sources of the Mississippi, &c. under 
Gov. Cass, in 1820, by Henry A. Schoolcraft; 1821. Travels to the Central 
Portions of the Mississippi Valley, &c. in 1821, by the same; 1825. Narrative 
of an Expedition to the Source of the Mississippi, in 1832, under H. A. School- 
craft, by the same ; 1834. Narrative of the Loss of the American brig Com- 
merce on the Coast of Africa, in 1815, by Capt. James Riley. A year in Europe, 


1818-19, by John Griscom ; 1823. Letters from Europe, «Stc. by N. H. Carter; 
New- York, 1827. (Two editions.) A Year in Spain, by Alex. S. McKenzie ; 
Boston, 1829. Narrative of Four Voyages to the South Sea and the Pacific, 
1822-31, by Benj. Morrell ; New- York, 1831. Voyages Round the World, be- 
tween 1792 and 1832, by Edward Fanning; New- York, 1832. Voyage of the 
U. S. Frigate Potomac, 1831-34, by J. N. Reynolds ; 1835. A Winter in the 
West, by a New-Yorker, [Charles F. Hoffman;] 1835. The Old World and 
the New, or a Journal of Reflections and Observations, made in a Tour in Eu- 
rope, by Orville Dewey ; 1836. Sketches of Turkey in 1831-32, by Jas. E. De 
Kay : New- York, 1833. Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petrsea, and the 
Holy Land, by John L. Stephens ; 1836. Incidents of Travel in Greece, Tur- 
key, Russia and Poland, by the same ; 1837. Journal of an Exploring Tour 
beyond the Rocky Modntains, 1835-37, by Samuel Parker; 1838. Incidents of 
Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, by John L. Stephens ; 1841. 
Biblical Researches in Palestine, &c. or a Journal of Travels in the year 1838, 
by Edward Robinson and Eli Smith, drawn up by E. Robinson; 1841. Letters 
from the Old World, by Mrs. Haight ; New- York, 1840. Letters from Abroad, 
&c. by ,C. S. Sedgwick ; New- York, 1841. Travels in England, &c. by J. Fen- 
nimore Cooper. Travels in Switzerland, &c. by the same. Travels in Europe, 
by Valentine Mott ; 1842. The American in Egypt, with rambles through Ara- 
bia Petraea and the Holy Land, during the years 1839 and 1840, by James 
Ewing Cooley ; 1842. 

With regard to these works we may remark, that Schoolcraft's publications 
are among the best accounts of the western wilderness ; that McKenzie's lively 
and graphic sketches of Spanish society have not been surpassed ; Dr. De Kay's 
volume upon Turkey is replete with information valuable to the general reader 
as well as to the naturalist ; that Hoffman is successfully creating a national taste 
for works descriptive of our own scenery, and illustrative of our own own history ; 
the letters of Mrs. Haight, are written with vivacity and elegance ; Stephens, 
Robinson and Dewey, forsook customary routes of travellers, and struck across the 


deserts of Egypt to the land of Edom, and have laid open to our observation the 
city of the dead. Of the American travels of Stephens, and the noble spirit which 
prompts his researches into the antiquities of Central America, we could not 
speak with too high praise.* 

In the department of classical learning, the state has one student preeminently 
distinguished, Charles Anthon of Columbia College. His fame is not only widely 
diffused throughout the United States, but his acquirements and labors are justly 
appreciated by the scholars of Europe. His critical and learned commentaries 
upon the works of the more popular classic authors are too familiar to need a 
reference. As the author of a classical dictionary, more accurate and extensive 
than any heretofore published, and as a diligent inquirer in the great department 
of the affiliation of languages, he has won for himself the highest rank among 
American classical scholars. 

In the department of translations from modern languages, doctor A. Sidney 
Doane, distinguished for his writings upon medical subjects, has won for himself 
high reputation. 

We are not altogether without historical romance. In this department may 
be mentioned Paulding's " Dutchman's Fire Side," Cooper's " Spy " and " Pio- 
neers," and Hoffman's " Greyslaer." In other departments of fiction, the Sketch 
Book, Bracebridge Hall, the Conquest of Grenada, and other works by Irving ; 
the numerous productions of' Cooper, the writings of Paulding, the graceful 
romances of Theodore S. Fay, and Indian Sketches and the Hawk Chief, by John 
T. Irving junior, have been received with much popular favor : while in satire, 
Knickerbocker's History of New- York, by Irving ; Salmagundi, by Paulding, 
Irving and others ; the Bucktail Bards, by Duer, Bonner and Verplanck ; and 
the Essays of Croaker & Co. by Drake, Halleck and Clinch, are very agreeable 

It must be confessed that a popular taste for poetry has not yet been created. 

• Notes on History and Travels, were received from Georob Polsom, Esq. 

Intr. 21 


We have no epic that has attained eminent celebrity ; yet the less elaborate and 
the fugitive pieces, when collected, constitute a treasure not unworthy of public 
acknowledgment. Sacred song has seldom excelled the beautiful fragment com- 
mencing "Father of Light," written by William Livingston, in 1747. "Vice," 
a satire by Gulian Verplanck, which appeared in 1774, is distinguished for taste, 
elegance and irony. In 1778, Anne E. Bleecker published several fugitive 
pieces, of which " A Thanksgiving after escape from Lidian perils," and some 
others are preserved. Anthony Bleecker, who contributed freely to periodical 
literature from 1800 to 1825, claims remembrance for an ode which assisted 
to make the wild and beautiful scenery of Trenton falls known to his country- 
men. Our national lyric " The American Flag," " The Culprit Fay," and other 
poems, by .J. Rodman Drake, will prove to succeeding generations, that this utili- 
tarian age is sometimes illumined by brilliant imaginative genius. The refined 
sentiment and mellifluous measure of " Yamoyden," " The Dead of 1832," and 
" Weehawken," are relied upon to preserve the memory of the lamented Robert 
C. Sands. A. H. Bogart, author of an " Anacreontic," in imitation of Moore ; 
Jonathan Lawrence junior, who has left among other poems, " The Clouds," 
" Look aloft," " Morning among the hills," and an " Ode to May ;" William Leg- 
gett, author of an exquisite sacred melody, and elegiac verses entitled " Love's 
Remembrancer ; " James G. Brooks, among whose remains are " Greece," " Joy 
and Sorrow," "An Ode to the dying year," and other unambitious and touching 
poems ; Willis Gaylord Clark, author of many beautiful pieces, among which 
all American readers will remember as peculiarly characteristic of the author, 
" Mary, Clueen of Scots," " The Burial place at Laurel hill," " The Early 
Dead," and "The Death of the Firstborn;" James Nack, in whom even the 
privations of speech and hearing could not repress the utterance of inspiration ; 
John Rudolph Sutermeister, whose " Faded Hours " were prophetic of his 
early death ; John B. Van Schaick, the writer of " Joshua commanding the sun 
and moon to stand still ; " the sisters, Lucretia Maria Davidson and Margaret 
Miller Davidson ; and Lucy Hooper, author of many beautiful poems, will 


long be remembered as sweet minstrels, \vhose voices were hushed in an early 
grave. Since death disarms envy, we have spoken with freedom of these 
departed votaries of the divine art ; but prudence, and a respect for contem- 
poraneous opinion, exact more caution in our notice of living poets. Bryant, 
to whom is assigned the palm in philosophic, descriptive and didactic verse ; 
Halleck, the versatile author of " Alnwick Castle," " Fanny," and " Marco 
Bozzaris ;" Paulding, whose " Backwoodsman " may be regarded as a national 
poem ; Charles F. Hoffman, whose " Vigil of Faith " is the fruit of early culti- 
vated genius, and who has thrown the charms of poetry, as well as of romance, 
over our own almost unknown mountains and lakes ; Alfred B. Street, known as 
the author of "Nature," "A Forest Walk," and "The Grey Forest Eagle;" 
Edward Sanford, author of the spirited " Address to Black Hawk ; " Peter H. 
Myers, author of " Ensenore ; " George W. Doane and William Croswell, writers 
of sacred lyrics ; Theodore S. Fay, John Inman and Pai'k Benjamin, not unsuc- 
cessful in poetry, though engaged in other fields of literature; James O. Rock- 
well, author of " The Lost at Sea ;" Samuel Woodworth, writer of a touching 
effusion, " The Old Oaken Bucket," which our domestic affections will not permit 
to lose a place in our literature ; Elizabeth F. Ellet, author of " The Daughter 
of Herodias;" Mary E. Brooks and her sister, Mrs. Hall, known to our readers 
as Noma and Hinda ; and Emma C. Embury, who has given us the chaste and 
affecting verses entitled " Christ in the Tempest ; " all are writers whose fame is 
cherished by the generous and refined portion of the American community.* 

The history of the fine arts in New- York, unfortunately, is scai'cely more 
than an account of a controversy concerning the manner of promoting them. 
The American Academy of Fine Arts was established in the city of New- York 
in 1800, and was incorporated in 1808, with liberal legislative patronage. 
Among the founders of the institution, v/ere Robert R. Livingston, John R. Mur- 
ray, De Witt Clinton, Charles Wilkes, Fobert Fulton, William Cutting, Edward 
Livingston, Rufus King, David Hosack, and James Fairlie. The object of the 

♦ Notes on Literature were received from Charles F. HoFFiMAN, Esq., and Alfred B. Street, Esq. 


association was to combine influence and patronage in favor of the fine arts. 
Addresses were delivered at the annual exhibitions of the academy. Of these, 
the discourse of De Witt Chnton in 1816, and that pronounced by Gmlian C. 
Verplanck in 1824, are very valuable contributions to our literature. Many of 
our artists conceived the opinion that the objects of the society would be better 
promoted by an association, conducted by professional individuals, thaa by the 
academy, the operations of which were mainly conducted by patrons. Hence 
arose, in 1825, the National Academy of Design, the members and officers of 
which are artists. This association, under the presidency of Samuel F. B. Morse, 
has procured valuable collections in both the antique and life schools ; and its 
usefulness has been signally manifested in the gratuitous instruction it has im- 
parted to more than four hundred students. In the mean time, the Academy of 
Fine Arts has ceased to exist. Its place, however, is well supplied by the Apollo 
Association, consisting of both artists and patrons : an institution which cheers 
and encourages genius, without incurring jealousy or censure. 

Painting, engraving and sculpture were scarcely known here before the revo- 
lution. William Dunlap, a painter of considerable merit, has shown in his curi- 
ous and interesting history, that West and Coply, in their early years, executed 
some portraits in the city of New- York ; but the state cannot lay claim to any 
honor from the birth, education or fame of these distinguished men. Peter R. 
Maverick, an engraver, in 1783, found insufficient occupation, although he seems 
to have enjoyed a monopoly in the business of his profession. In about 1794, 
Cornelius Tiebout engraved some portraits on copper. Andrew Anderson, of 
New- York, introduced wood engraving in 1794. 

We need scarcely remark, that although we are very far from having esta- 
blished an American school, and although we confess our inferiority not only to 
the ancient masters but to modern European artists, yet the genius of our citi- 
zens has applied itself to the study of the arts with all the assiduity and zeal 
which mark the national character, and their success in that department may 
be expected to increase as rapidly as national taste and patronage wall permit. 


All artists and amateurs in our country concede the palm to Peter Vanderlyn, 
among whose performances will be remembered his " Ariadne " and his " Wash- 

Music was long since admitted in every plan of female education ; but owing 
to a strange perverseness, has been almost universally neglected in the education 
of the other sex. Just sentiments, however, are beginning to prevail. Ele- 
mentary instruction is now given in many of our primary schools, and it may 
reasonably be hoped that soon there will be none in which this tasteful and refining 
art will be omitted. 

It remains to notice the progress of the physical sciences. The notes on these 
subjects will be the more brief, because they are fully investigated in the work 
which follows this introduction. 

The earliest publication relating to the botany of New-York, was Cadwallader 
Colden's account of the indigenous plants of Orange county and its vicinity, 
published in 1744. It is contained in the " Acta Societatis Regise Scientiarum 
Upsaliensis," and fills two quarto volumes. The catalogue embraced several 
hundred species, which were carefully described. The " Plantae Coldenhamise " 
were frequently quoted by Linnaeus. The traveller Kalm, who visited this 
country in 1747, under the patronage of the Swedish government, collected a 
large number of plants and transferred them to his preceptor Linnaeus, by which 
distinguished naturalist they were described in the " Species Plantarum " and 
" Systema Vegetabilium." Wangenheim, a Hessian surgeon in the British army, 
during the American revolution, collected many plants in New- York, and in 
other portions of the United States, of which he published accounts in 1781 and 
1787. The Michaux, elder and junior, travelled in New- York in 1792 and in 
1803. The former published in Paris, in 1803, the " Flora Borealis Americana." 
The latter, in 1810 and subsequent years, gave a description of our indigenous 
forest trees, in his splendid work entitled "Arbres Forestiers de TAmerique 
Septentrionale." C. W. Eddy of New- York, published in the " Medical Repo- 
sitory," in 1806, a catalogue of the plants growing about Plandome on the 



northern side of Long Island, in which several new species were mentioned. In 
1811, John Le Conte published in the " American Medical and Philosophical 
Register," a list of four hundred and sixty-eight plants growing on the island of 
New- York. A catalogue of plants indigenous in the state of New- York, was 
published in 1814, by Jacob Green. Frederick Pursh explored portions of the 
state, and incorporated the results of his examinations in his valuable work enti- 
tled " Flora Americce Septentrionalis," published in 1814. Nuttall, author of 
the " Genera of North American Plants," and other learned works relating to the 
botany of this country, has materially aided in perfecting the flora of the state. 
In 1817, the "Lyceum of Natural History" in New-York, appointed a com- 
mittee to prepare a catalogue of the plants growing within thirty miles of the 
metropolis. The duty was performed by John Torrey, M.D., and the results 
published at Albany in 1819. The localities, times of flowering, synonyms and 
characteristics of new species, were included in the account. Amos Eaton, in 
1818, published his " Manual of Botany for the Northern and Middle States " 
This work has passed through eight editions, the last of which was greatly en- 
larged, and appeared under the title of " North American Botany." The great 
circulation which this book has obtained, is a gratifying evidence of increasing 
interest in this useful department of natural history. Doctor Torrey published 
in New- York, in 1823, a volume designed to be a part of a series entided " Flora 
of the Northern and Middle States." The work comprised only the first twelve 
classes of the Linnean system, and the author then relinquished his purpose 
under a conviction that he would better advance the cause of science by adopting 
the natural method, and by describing the flora of the whole of North America. 

The " Botany of the Northern and Middle States" was published by doctor 
Lewis C. Beck in 1833, and has greatly contributed to the advancement of accu- 
rate botanical knowledge. James Hall and John Wright pubhshed, in 1836, a 
catalogue of plants growing in the vicinity of Troy. This work forms a useful 
manual for persons pursuing the study of botany in the valley of the Hudson, 
and contains the names of most of the j^lants indigenous in the river counties 


north of the Highlands. Doctors John Torrey and Asa Gray have been many 
years engaged in collecting and preparing materials for a complete " Flora of 
North America." The first volume of their work, comprising the polypetalous 
division of the dicotyledonous or exogenous plants, was published at intervals 
between 1838 and 1840. The authors adopt the natural system, and the work has 
been executed in a manner entirely in harmony with its high design. Besides 
these more elaborate works, other contributions to botanical science have appeared 
from time to time in scientific journals. Among these we refer to papers in 
" Silhman's Journal," by doctor Gray, David Thomas and others ; descriptions of 
new and rare plants in the state of New- York, by doctor Gray, published in the 
" Annals of the New- York Lyceum of Natural History ;" catalogues of the indi- 
genous j)lants of particular counties or towns, printed in the reports of the regents 
of the university ; and especially papers by professor Dewey and doctor Knies- 
kern, contained in the last annual report. Many valuable papers on practical 
botany, and its relations to agriculture, are to be found in agricultural journals. 

The science of zoology in this state owes its origin to Samuel L. Mitchill, 
who, in 1813, commenced, and in the succeeding year completed, an elaboi-ate 
account of the fishes of New- York. This paper was given to the public in the 
" Transactions of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New- York." The 
work, although strictly local, and limited chiefly to a description of the fishes 
found in the waters in the vicinity of the city of New- York, became a standard 
of reference and comparison for succeeding laborers in the field of ichthyology. 
That science not only received from the labors of doctor Mitchill a great im- 
pulse, but its votaries here won for themselves regard from the savans of the old 
world, and were encouraged to persevere in their labors, even under disadvan- 
tageous and almost discouraging circumstances. To that impulse may be attri- 
buted the formation of the " Lyceum of Natural History" in the city of New- 
York in 1818. In connection with this department of natural history, it would 
be unjust to pass without notice the efforts and researches of De Witt Clinton, 
who, although engrossed in public duties, devoted himself with assiduity to the 


pursuit of natural science, and especially to the study of natural history. The 
results of some of his investigations are contained in a letter to doctor Mitchill, 
published in the " Transactions of the Literary and Philosophical Society." 

Although the study of ornithology has not been pursued with the especial ob- 
ject of determining the species of birds indigenous in the state, still in the com- 
prehensive treatises which have issued from the press, there is no deficiency of 
information on that interesting subject. The labors of Wilson, Bonaparte, Au- 
dubon, Cooper and De Kay, in this department, are too well known to require 
more than a reference on this occasion. 

Similar remarks apply to the history of the mammalia of the state. Although 
investigations in that department have been made by many distinguished indi- 
viduals, none have confined their observations to species peculiar to the state, 
except William Cooper, who has published a treatise of the "Cheiroptera of 
New- York." Bachman, of South Carolina, in researches extending over most of 
the states, has made interesting discoveries in the families of many smaller quadru- 
peds in this State. 

The reptile species, particularly the Tortoise, was described by Le Conte, in 
the "Annals of the New- York Lyceum," in 1829. His paper contains descrip- 
tions of seventeen species of tortoises, although only a small number of them be- 
long exclusively to New- York. 

Barnes, whose early death was deeply lamented, devoted himself to the study 
of the Unionidce of our lakes and rivers. His descriptions were accurate, and 
may be considered as the first successful attempt to classify the numerous species 
of this family of Mollusca. They were published in the " American Journal of 
Science." For a knowledge of the mollusca of our seacoast, we are indebted 
to doctor Jay of New- York. Professor Bailey, of West-Point, has also published 
very interesting results of his researches among the living Infusoria. 

The investigations made in meteorology by our scholars deserve marked 
acknowledgments. They seem to have begun under an impulse which that 
science received in 1780, from the Meteorological Society of the Palatinate (in 


Germany), under the patronage of the elector Charles Theodore. Simeon De 
Witt, who appears often in this memoir as a friend of science, published in 1792 
a " Plan of a Meteorological Chart for exhibiting a comparative view of the cli- 
mate in North America, and the progress of vegetation." This plan contained 
suggestions which have since been found useful, but we are not informed what 
portion of them was original. Mr. De Witt, Gardner Baker, Jonathan Eights 
and John Griscom contributed, from 1795 until 1814, very useful papers in this 
department, which were published in the Transactions of the Society for the 
Promotion of Agriculture and the Useful Arts. In March, 1825, the regents of 
the university, on the motion of Mr. De Witt, adopted the system in pursuance 
of which the academies have since that time made daily observations upon the 
weather and the winds, together with notices of the progress of vegetation, and 
the occurrence of remarkable atmospheric phenomena. T. Romeyn Beck, Jo- 
seph Henry, professor Ten Eyck, Benjamin F. Jocelyn, W. C. Redfield, Mat- 
thew Henry Webster, Charles Dewey, James H. Coffin, and others, have assidu- 
ously collated the facts obtained by academical and other observations, and the 
success of their labors has received the praise of transatlantic as well as Ameri- 
can philosophers.* 

Dr. Franklin's experiments proving the identity of electricity and lightning, 
signalized the commencement of American chemical science. A chair of chemis- 
try was established in the medical school founded in New- York before the 
revolution ; and the science received a new impulse from the labors of Dr. 
Priestley, who, driven by popular bigotry and violence from his own country, 
renewed his learned studies in his retreat at Northumberland in Pennsylvania. 
It was not, however, until after the commencement of the present century, that 
the importance of chemistry was fully appreciated on either side of the Atlantic. 

* Notes on Chemistry and Mineralogy were received from Lewis C. Beck, M.D.; Notes on Meteorology, from T. 
Romeyn Beck, LL.D.; Notes on Scientific Societies, from Horace B. Webster, Esq.; Notes on Natural History, from 
John W. Francis, M.D.; Notes on Zoology, from Ebenezer Emmons, M.D.; Notes on Botany, from John Torrey, 
M.D.; and Notes on Geology, from James Hall, A.M., and L. C. Beck, M.D.; and Notes on the Progress of Know- 
ledge, from Samuel Blatchford, Esq. 

Intr. 22 


and in this state it was not admitted to a place in collegiate education until 1813, 
when it was introduced at Union College. Since that time no faculty of arts or 
of medicine has been considered complete without a professorship of chemistry, 
and it is now very generally taught to pupils of both sexes in academies and in 
many of the common schools. 

The trustees of the Albany Academy are entitled to the praise of first intro- 
ducing chemistry into our seminaries of that grade. The more popular expe- 
riments in electro-magnetism began in that institution with the construction of 
an electro-magnet capable of sustaining a weight of several hundred pounds. 
Our chemists have not been inactive, although their studies have been crowned 
with no brilliant discoveries, and their very useful papers will be found in most 
of the scientific journals in the country. 

Few subjects in this department are more intricate in their nature than the 
minute analysis of mineral waters. The mineral springs at Ballston, Saratoga, 
Avon, Shai-on, Massena and other places, have elicited memoirs embracing details 
of their chemical constituents, as well as essays on their respective sanative qua- 
lities. The springs at Ballston and Saratoga have acquired extensive reputation, 
from the publications of Seymour, De Witt and Steele. Francis, Hadley and 
Salisbury have made known the virtues of those at Avon. The waters at 
Sharon have been subjected to chemical analysis by Chilton ; and Dr. McNeven's 
publications on the waters at Schooley's mountain, have conferred upon them 
much celebrity. 

Mineralogy, although intimately connected with geology, was cultivated long 
before the latter grew into a distinct branch of knowledge. To the late Samuel 
L. Mitchill belongs the honor of introducing mineralogy in this state. The first 
and second volumes of the Medical Repository, published in 1798 and 1799, 
contain his sketch of the mineralogical history of the state of New-York, which, 
although meagre when compared with our present knowledge, shows that diligent 
investigation of facts had commenced. In the latter year a mineralogical society 
was formed in New-York under his auspices, with the efficient aid of Samuel 


Miles Hopkins and George I. Warner. And the ardor of Dr. Mitchill's zeal is 
illustrated in his description of the object of the association, which he said " was 
to arm every hand with a hammer, and every eye with a microscope." The 
Medical Repository, from 1803 to 1809, and the Transactions of the Society for 
the Promotion of Useful Arts, from 1793 until 1804, contained many papers which 
contributed to excite the general interest now manifested in the study of the sci- 
ence. Among these we may specify a " Memoir of the Onondaga Salt Springs, 
and Manufactures in the State of New- York, by Benjamin De Witt ;" " Obser- 
vations on the Natural History of Kinderhook and its immediate vicinity, by 
David Warden," in 1803 ; " Mineralogical Description of the Walkill and Sha- 
wangunk Mountains in New- York," by Samuel Akerly; "Descriptions of Fluate 
of Lime and Oxyde of Manganese in the State of New- York," in 1S08 ; and 
" Mineralogical Notices of Onondaga, New- York," 1809. But the effort which 
proved most successful in this department, was the establishment of the Ameri- 
can Mineralogical Journal in 1810, conducted by Archibald Bruce. This work 
was continued until 1814, and was enriched by the learned investigations of 
Mitchill, Bruce, Akerly, Chilton, John Griscom, Benjamin Silliman, David R. 
Arnell and others. 

An address by T. Romeyn Beck, before " The Society for the Promotion of 
Useful Arts," on the mineralogical resources of the United States, published in 
1813, exhibited a very full view of the mineral productions within the state 
known at that time. Professor Cleveland's elementary treatise on mineralogy 
and geology, published in 1816, is still a standard work. Dr. Mitchill, in 1818, 
published a reprint of Phillips' elementary introduction to mineralogy, with notes. 
Professor Silliman, in the same year, established the " American Journal of 
Science," which most useful periodical is still continued. Mineralogy has always 
held a prominent place in that journal, and it contains many valuable papers, 
showing the progress of the science in this state. The Lyceum of Natural His- 
tory, established in New- York in 1818, and a similar institution founded at 
Albany, contain rich collections of minerals. The latter, through the liberality 


of Stephen Van Rensselaer and William Caldwell, has acquired a library which 
contains almost every important work in the department of natural science. 
From the period when the geological survey commenced, the progress of mine- 
ralogy has been identified with that of geology, and the present condition of that 
science will appear in that portion of the following work devoted to the subject. 
The history of geology in this country commences with the year 1807. Wil- 
liam McClure, a native of Scotland, who had emigrated to the United States, 
revisited Europe in 1803. Imbued with a love for the study of natural history, 
and possessing ample fortune, he traversed large portions of Europe, acquiring 
geological knowledge. Prepared by these researches, he undertook, on his 
return to this country in 1807, at a time when scientific pursuits were little ap- 
preciated, to accomplish by his own enterprise a geological survey of the United 
States. His observations were made in almost every state and territory in the 
union ; and not only in populous districts, where the comforts which the traveller 
requires were afforded, but also in forests and dreary solitudes, unaffected by 
all the privations to which he was exposed. The unlettered inhabitants of 
remote districts, seeing him engaged in breaking fragments from rocks, sup- 
posed him to be a lunatic escaped from confinement. The facts which he 
accumulated, were communicated to the American Philosophical Society, and 
published in their " Transactions" in 1809. The author continued his investi- 
gations during a series of many years. But in pursuing his valuable discoveries, 
he, like his successors, was influenced not so much by a desire to obtain a correct 
classification of our strata, as to identify them with those of the eastern conti- 
nent. The publication of Mr. McClure called into the field a few laborers, and 
engaged the attention of friends of science. De Witt Clinton,' in his Introduc- 
tory Discourse, delivered in 1814 before the " Literary and Philosophical Society 
of New- York," censured the legislature for having refused, at a recent session, 
to lend its aid to the prosecution of searches for coal within this state ; and in 
considering the objects worthy the attention of that association, he remarked that 
"Men of observation and science ought to be employed to explore our country, 


with a view to its geology, mineralogy, botany, zoology and agriculture." The 
" American Journal of Science," the " American Monthly Journal of Geology," 
by Mr. Featherstonhaugh, and the transactions of scientific associations in Penn- 
sylvania, New- York and Massachusetts, were very efficient in enlightening the 
public mind concerning the importance of mineralogy and geology. A board of 
agriculture having been established by the legislature, under the recommendation 
of De Witt Clinton, he proposed in his annual message, in 1819, that that board 
should be authorized to make a statistical survey of the state, and describe its 
animal, vegetable and mineral productions. Not at all doubting that coal would 
be found to compensate for the waste of fuel in the western portion of the state, 
then destitute of facilities for communication with the Atlantic coast, he ureed 
that premiums should be offered to promote a search. Private liberality, how- 
ever, anticipated this recommendation. Stephen Van Rensselaer, in 1820, autho- 
rized Amos Eaton and T. Romeyn Beck to make an agricultural and geological 
survey of the county of Albany. The result of their examination was a descrip- 
tion of the rocks and minerals of the county, with an analysis of a variety of 
soils, together with remarks upon the condition of agriculture. In the succeed- 
ing year, professor Eaton, with the same liberal patronage, completed a similar 
survey of Rensselaer county. In 1823, the liberality of Mr. Van Rensselaer 
took a wider range, and professor Eaton was authorized to extend his survey 
throughout the region traversed by the Erie canal. His report proposed a gene- 
ral geological nomenclature, and contained a description of the strata extending 
from Boston to Buffalo. This publication marked an era in the progress of geo- 
logy in the country. It is in some respects inaccurate, but it must be remem- 
bered that its talented and indefatigable author was without a guide in explor- 
ing the older formations ; and that he described rocks which no geologist had, at 
that time, attempted to classify. Rocks were then classified chiefly by their 
mineralogical characters, and the aid which the science has since learned to 
derive from fossils in determining the chronology and classification of rocks, was 
scarcely known here, and had only just begun to be appreciated in Europe. We 


are indebted, nevertheless, to professor Eaton for the commencement of that in- 
dependence of European classification which has been found indispensable in 
describing the New- York system. For he remarks, " After examining our rocks 
with as much care and accuracy as I am capable of doing, I venture to say that 
we have at least five distinct and continuous strata, neither of which can with pro- 
priety take any name hitherto given and defined in any European treatise which 
has reached this country." Connected with the report there was a view of the 
section of the rocks extending in the line of the canal through the state, and 
another from the Atlantic ocean to Pittsfield in Massachusetts, for the latter of 
which we are indebted to Edward Hitchcock, who has since completed a geolo- 
logical survey of Massachusetts, under the direction of the government of that 
state. Professor Eaton enumerated nearly all the rocks in western New- York, 
in their order of succession ; and his enumeration has, with one or two excep- 
tions, proved correct. It is a matter of surprise that he recognized, at so early 
a period, the old red sandstone on the Catskill mountains ; a discovery, the re- 
ality of which has since been proved by fossil tests. Had he followed up this 
discovery, he could not have failed to learn what an immense series of rocks lay 
below the old red sandstone, at that time entirely unclassified. 

The munificence of Mr. Van Rensselaer, in producing such results, is illus- 
trated by this -remark addressed to him in professor Eaton's report : "You have 
furnished every facility for perfecting the work. You have set no limits to 
my expenses, nor those of the engravers and printers." The public mind was 
now becoming prepared for the state surveys which have since been effected. 
North Carolina has the honor of having been the first to send geologists into the 
field. Professor Olmstead's report upon the economical geology of that state 
was published in 1825. Since that time, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Tennes- 
see, Virginia, Maine, Rhode Island, New-Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, 
Ohio, Delaware, Kentucky, Georgia, Arkansas and Iowa, and perhaps other 
states and territories have been explored. In 1835, the assembly of this state, 
upon the motion of Charles P. Clinch, a representative from New- York, passed 


a resolution directing the secretary of state to report to the legislature, at its 
next session, the most expedient method for obtaining a complete geological 
survey of the state, which should furnish a perfect and scientific account of rocks 
and soils and their localities, and a list of all its mineralogical, botanical and 
zoological productions, and for procuring and preserving specimens of the same, 
with an estimate of the expense of the undertaking. John A. Dix, secretary of 
state, in January, 1836, submitted a report in pursuance of this resolution. That 
luminous and satisfactory document led to the passage of the act of the 15th of 
April, 1836, in the execution of which, and of the acts of May 8th, 1840, and 
of April 9th, 1842, the survey has been made.* William L. Marcy, governor, 
arranged the plan of the survey in the summer of 1836, and assigned its depart- 
ments as follows : The zoological department to James E. De Kay ; the botanical 
department to John Torrey ; the mineralogical and chemical department to 
Lewis C. Beck; the geological department to William W. Mather, Ebenezer 
Emmons, Timothy A. Conrad, and Lardner Vanuxem. This arrangement was 
subsequently altered by the institution of a palgeontological department, under 
the care of Mr. Conrad, and by the appointment of James Hall to supply his 
place as a geologist. The results of the survey appear in the following volumes, 
and in eight several collections of specimens of the animals, plants, soils, minerals, 
rocks and fossils, found within the state, one of which collections constitutes a 
museum of natural history at the capital of the state, and the others are dis- 
tributed among its collegiate institutions. 

It cannot be necessary to dwell upon the benefits secured by the survey. It 
is not more necessary to know what resources are withheld from us than to un- 
derstand those which Providence has been pleased to bestow. In regard to the 
narrow purpose in which the sui^vey originated, it is no unprofitable result to 
know that coal cannot be found within the state, and that we must depend for 
supplies of that mineral on trade with the countries with which we are connected. 

* It may be stated with just pride, that the law of 1836, appropriating the sum of S104,000 to the survey, was passed by 
the assembly unanimously. A further appropriation of S'2G,000 was made by the law of 1842. 


The want of coal, however, is compensated by the discovery of rich deposits of 
salt, lime, marl, peat and gypsum, and of plumbago, copper, zinc, lead and iron. 
The field within which economical science has recently pursued its investigations, 
with results so well calculated to exalt our sentiments of wonder, gratitude and 
devout veneration, and so propitious to the future welfare and happiness of our 
race, is greatly enlarged, and many obstructions to those investigations are re- 
moved. Although thus far the survey has resulted only in adding accumulations 
to the mass of facts already acquired, yet even that is no unworthy contribution 
to human knowledge ; and it may be hoped that a spirit of inquiry has been sti- 
mulated, which will not rest content until that philosophical classification of facts 
shall be made, which is necessary to enable us to read with accuracy the impe- 
rishable pages on which the physical history of the earth is written. What 
new light the discoveries, thus to be made in cosmogony, will throw upon the 
designs of the Creator and the destiny of our race, cannot now be conjectured : 
but it is enough to stimulate and reward our highest efforts, to know that while 
the range of research is infinite, the human mind is perpetually progressive. 

In submitting to the people of New- York the results of the scientific survey, 
conducted under their patronage, it has been thought proper and even necessary 
to record the incidents connected with the origin and progress of that enterprise : 
and since it is a national characteristic to be careless in regard to the preservation 
of memorials of our social progress, the occasion has been deemed a proper one for 
collecting from various sources some facts, which might illustrate the advance of 
civilization and refinement within our limits. The review which has been taken of 
that progress, comprehends a geographical and political description of the state : 
a sketch of the history of education, of the system of public instruction in colleges, 
academies and common schools, and of the foundation and endowment of libra- 
ries ; a history of the press ; a notice of the theological profession, with a sketch 
of theological learning ; an account of medical science and the medical pro- 


fession ; a political history of the state, from the time of the Dutch colonial go- 
vernment to the revolution ; a notice of the establishment of the constitution of 
1777; an account of the formation and establishment of the constitution of the 
United States, and of the organization and early administration of the federal 
government, so far as concerns the action of this state and of its citizens ; notices 
of the abolition of slavery, of the amelioration of the criminal code, and of the 
progress of jurisprudence, with an account of the judiciary and of the legal 
profession ; a reference to contributions by citizens of New- York to political and 
financial science ; accounts of the formation of the constitution of 1821, and of 
the codification of our statute laws in 1827 and 1828 ; a history of internal im- 
provements within the state, from the period of their conception, which, as con- 
stituting a peculiar and interesting feature in our physical progress, have been 
deemed worthy of extended and detailed remark ; accounts of the improvement 
and present condition of agriculture, of the development of agricultural science, 
and of the introduction of horticulture ; a sketch of civil engineering, with a full 
description of the recently constructed Croton aqueduct ; notices of the appli- 
cation of the steam engine to na\dgation, and of improvements in the steam en- 
gine ; of sacred, civil, academic and domestic architecture ; of antiquarian curio- 
sities, and of Indian history ; of the materials collected for the history of the 
state ; of the studies and productions of our citizens in the departments of history, 
classical learning, mathematical science, pure and mixed biography, travels, ro- 
mance and general literature, poetry and the fine arts ; and of researches in our 
zoology, botany, meteorology, chemistry and mineralogy ; with an account of the 
inception, progress and consummation of the survey, to which those researches 
gave birth. 

This review, although circumscribed and imperfect, furnishes gratifying proof 
that a republican government is not unfavorable to intellectual improvement. 
Intelligent and patriotic citizens were invited to furnish the materials necessary 
for the work, and portions of it consist substantially of such materials, in the 

Intr. 23 


form in which they were received, Httle labor having been bestowed upon them 
beyond that of compilation. The laudable objects of those citizens, as well 
as my own design, will have been attained, if any thing valuable shall be preserved 
which would otherwise be lost ; if the attachment of our citizens to the state and 
its institutions shall be increased and confirmed, or if any new incentives shall be 
furnished for perseverance in the career which is here recorded. 


Albany, 1842. 


[The subject of the penitentiary discipline in the state of New- York, is too important to be passed with 
only such very general reference as could be made to it in the foregoing introduction. The following 
account was furnished by the Hon. John L. O'Sullivan] 

The Penitentiary System of New- York, as it has now existed for a period of nearly a quarter 
of a century, has presented one of the institutions of the state which have been the subject of 
the highest interest to the stranger and pride to its own citizens. The two great establishments 
in which it is to be seen in operation, on a larger scale than in any of the other states of the 
union, are situated at the villages of Auburn and Sing-Sing ; the former for the reception of 
convicts from the western, the latter from the eastern district of the state. The Mount- 
Pleasant prison, at Sing-Sing, on the Hudson, about thirty-three miles north of the city of 
New- York, has also a separate building for the reception of female convicts from the whole 
state. The former of these establishments, at the village of Auburn, in the county of Cayuga, 
situated 169 miles west of Albany, and 139 east of Buffalo, and about seven miles south of 
the line of the Erie canal, was the first in the union in which the peculiar system now prevail- 
ing in both was adopted, or at least carried out to that degree of completeness and efEciency, 
which has become the just subject of the admiration of the civilized world. It has, therefore, 
given its name to the system, notwithstanding that its leading features were by no means 
novel to the science of prison discipline, or original with the founder of this institution. It 
has constituted the model from which most of the otlier slates of the union have derived the 
plans of the penitentiaries which most of them have, of late years, been led to establish, under 
the stimulus of an example so successful in itself and so honorable in the eyes of the world ; 
and in the vehement controversy which has been waged, through many modes of publication, 
between the respective partisans of this system and of the rival system in operation in the 
state of Pennsylvania, it is always and every where designated as the Auburn system. A 
brief sketch of its origin, as well as of its present condition, will not be deemed misplaced. 

Previously to the year 1786, the different states of this union were governed, in the main, by 
the sanguinary criminal code which all as colonies had inherited from their mother-country. 
In that year, Permsylvania, in which had been more widely sown than in any other the seeds 
of that philanthropic wisdom which so peculiarly marked the character of its immortal founder, 
as well as of the religious communion of which he was an ornament, was the first to lead the 


way to her sister republics in the direction of reform in criminal law and penal discipline. A 
new criminal code was created, the most interesting feature of which was the abolition of 
the former barbarism of capital punishment, for all offences short of the highest felonies, 
treason, murder, rape and arson. In a few years, under the auspices of such intellects and 
such hearts as those of a Benjamin Franklin, a Benjamin Rush, a William Bradford and a 
Caleb Lowndes, a still further amelioration took place. The year 1790 was marked by im- 
portant mitigations of the former corporeal severities inflicted; and in 1794, the penalty of 
death was restricted to the single crime of murder in the first degree. The first penitentiary 
erected in tlie state was the Walnut-street prison in Philadelphia, in the year 1790 ; in which 
imprisonment at hard labor was substituted for the ancient modes of punishment for crime by 
the gallows, the lash, and the brand. A certain degree of classification was adopted for 
prisoners, according to their offences and characters ; while solitary cells were provided for 
those who, for the more heinous grades of crime, were condemned to that penalty, as also 
for those whose violent resistance to the ordinary discipline of the prison required unusual 
means of restraint or punishment. The solitary cells were without the provision of labor, 
which in the other portions of the establishment was designed to afford one of its chief refor- 
matory influences. 

New- York was not slow to follow in the track of a more enlightened penal policy, in which 
Pennsylvania thus bore off the honor of leading the way. The year 1796 marks the first 
prominent era in the history of penitentiary reform in this state. In his first message to the 
legislature, on the 6th January, Governor Jay recommended the mitigation of the criminal 
code, and the erection of establishments for the employment and reformation of criminals. 
Two years previously, two citizens of New- York, distinguished for their humanity and libe- 
rality, Thomas Eddy, of the Society of Friends, and General Schuyler, alike in peace and in 
war, one of the most illustrious of the founders of this commonwealth, had visited the Philadel- 
phia prison for the purpose of acquiring a more accurate knowledge of its tendency, structure, 
and its internal arrangements ; and so favorable was the impression produced on their minds, 
that the latter gentleman, who was then in the senate of the state, immediately drafted a law 
for the erection of a penitentiary in the city of New- York. This bill, " for making altera- 
tions in the criminal law of this state, and the erecting of state prisons," in harmony with 
the recommendation of the governor, was brought forward in the senate, and ably and suc- 
cessfully sustained by Ambrose Spencer, the subsequent eminent chief justice of the state, 
and finally became a law on the 26th of March, 1796. This law directed the establishment 
of two state prisons, the one at Albany and the other at New-York ; though the idea of the 
former was afterwards abandoned, and the whole appropriation expended in New-York, under 
a commission consisting of Matthew Clarkson, John Murray junior, John Watt, Thomas Eddy 
and Isaac Stoutenburgh. This establishment (known as Newgate) was opened for the recep- 
tion of its inmates on the 25th of November, 1797. The building was 204 feet in length, a 
wing projecting from each end, and from those wings two other smaller wings. Tlie whole 
structure was of the Doric order, containing 54 rooms, 12 feet by 18; besides the cells for 


solitary confinement, on the ground floor. Criminals sentenced to imprisonment had hereto- 
fore been simply confined in the jails of the counties in which they were convicted. The 
law of 1796 eff"ected at the same time an important amelioration in our criminal code. Pre- 
viously to that period there were no less than sixteen species of crime punishable with death. 
Corporeal punishment was used, and in many cases felonies which were not capital on their 
first, became so on their second commission. In fourteen of these offences, imprisonment for 
life, or for shorter periods, was substituted for the capital penalty, which was only retained 
for treason and murder. The model afforded by the Philadelphia and New-York prisons was 
soon successively imitated by other states. The state prison at Richmond, Virginia, was 
erected in 1800 ; that at Windsor, Vermont, in 1808 ; at Baltimore, Maryland, in ISll ; at 
Concord, New-Hampshire, in 1812; and at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1816. 

But this system, the object of so much sanguine hope to its philanthropic projectors, was 
no where crowned with success. It is in the state of New-York in particular, that we are 
here to regard its operation. The great body of the convicts were thrown together in the 
prison, in numbers which soon became improperly crowded, and were kept at work through 
the day. The only punishment which their keepers had a right to inflict for violations of the 
discipline, was solitary confinement with bread and water. A small proportion of them, who 
before the reform of the penal laws would have been sentenced to death, were confined in 
perpetual solitude, unrelieved by the solace of labor. The system was found not only totally 
ineffective to reform, but on the contrary most perniciously active to corrupt and to harden. It 
was an enormous drain on the public treasury. It soon ceased to have any terrors for the 
depraved ; while to young offenders thrown for the first time into the midst of the polluted 
atmosphere and the fatal society assembled in the rooms of the prison, it was certain and irre- 
coverable ruin. And partly from the increase of population, but in probably a still greater 
degree from the tendency of the system itself to manufacture new rogues and to continue old 
ones, it became so overstocked, as soon to make it necessary annually to pardon out large 
numbers of offenders for no other reason than to accommodate the reception of the fresh in- 
flux. Though adapted to the suitable accommodation of not more than between three and four 
hundred, it was at times occupied by upward of seven hundred — crowded and herded to- 
gether beyond any possibihty of proper classification. A report made to the legislature in 
1817, by commissioners appointed to examine into the subject, stated that, within a period of five 
years, 740 had been pardoned, while only 77 had been discharged by the expiration of their 
sentences. In the two years, 1816 and 1817, the number of pardons was 573. A report 
made to the senate in 1822, by the Hon. Samuel Miles Hopkins, states the whole number of 
convicts committed since 1796 to have been 5,069, of which number there had been pardoned 
not less than 2,819. The necessary effect of such a system to promote the multiplication of 
crime, need scarcely be adverted to. It will be sufiicient to state, that of twenty-three convicted 
of second and third offences in the year 1815, twenty had been previously pardoned, and only 
three discharged by the ordinary course of law. The average number of deaths was about 
seven per cent. Fires and insurrections were of not unfrequent occurrence. 


The first suggestion of the necessity of anotlier penitentiary in the interior of the state, 
was made in the annual report of the ofiicers of the prison in 1809. The friends of the ex- 
isting system, notwithstanding the annually developed evidence of its total failure for every 
other than the worst purposes, still clung to their old ideas ; and the admitted evils, manifest 
in the existing establishment, being ascribed to its crowded condition, when the erection of a 
second prison, at the village of Auburn, was determined upon in 1816, it was hoped that am- 
pler space of accommodation, and smaller subdivisions of numbers, would yet produce the 
salutary results originally expected. The south wing of this building was completed in 1818 ; 
containing sixty-one double cells, and twenty-eight rooms. Each of which was to contain 
from eight to twelve prisoners. But for reasons obvious to those at all familiar with the 
vicious tendencies of imprisoned convicts, this plan was soon found to be the most fatal that 
could be adopted ; and it was evident that it would be better to throw fifty criminals together 
in the same room, than to divide them in small numbers, and especially in pairs. The sub- 
ject was much discussed at about this period, both in the legislature and the community at 
large ; and in 1819 the erection of the north wing was ordered, to consist entirely of cells for 
solitary confinement. By a law of this year, too, for the fii-st time the use of. the whip was 
permitted when deemed necessary for the maintenance of the discijjline of the prisons. 

At about the same period the jniblic attention in the state of Peimsylvania also was much 
engaged with the same subject. In the year 1817, the manifest failure of the old system, as 
prevailing in the Walnut-street prison, led to the passage of a law for the construction of the 
Western penitentiary at Pittsburgh, and in 1821 for the Eastern penitentiary at Cherry-Hill, 
near Philadelphia ; in which it was determined to adopt entirely the system of uninterrupted 
solitary confinement. Desirous of making a similar experiment, the legislature of New- York, 
on the 2d April, 1821, directed the agent of the Auburn prison to select a number of the most 
hardened criminals, and to lock them up in solitary cells, night and day, without interruption 
and without labor ; and in December of the same year, a sufficient number of cells were com- 
pleted for the purpose, and eighty criminals placed in them. 

The result of this experiment, which was founded on the recommendation of a committee 
of the legislature, was disastrous in the extreme. Human nature could not endure the 
solitary horrors of such a doom. Within the year, five of the eighty died ; one became 
insane ; another, watching an opportunity when his keeper opened his door for some neces- 
sary purpose, in a fit of despair precipitated himself from the gallery, running the almost 
certain chance of destruction by the fall ; and the rest sank into a state of such deep de- 
pression, and of failing health, that their lives must have been sacrificed had they been 
kept longer in this situation. Under these circumstances the governor pardoned twenty-six, 
and the remainder were withdrawn from their cells during the day to work in the shops of 
the prison. From this period, 1823, this system of uninterrupted solitude was abandoned at 

The failure of this experiment for a time seemed to endanger the success of the whole peni- 
tentiary system. The ardent hopes of its friends were nearly exhausted; and even some, whose 
feelings revolted at the idea of capital punishment, began to fear that it would again become 


necessary to resort to the more frequent use of the scaffold. But, as it is stated in a report 
by the late agent of the Mount-Pleasant prison, Mr. Robert Wiltse, made in March, 1834, 
(from which document we have already drawn considerably in the preparation of this narra- 
tive,) Capt. Elam Lynds, who was at this time the agent of the Auburn prison, was too wise 
to give up the idea that the beneficial moral influences of solitude might yet be combined 
with some successful system of congregated labor. He felt convinced that this result could 
be attained by a union of the two opposite principles — by confining the convicts to solitary 
cells at night and on Sundays, and compelling them to work during the day in large work- 
shops in absolute silence, and under such a vigilant inspection as should preclude, so far as 
possible, all intercourse in any manner between them. 

It has been a subject of some controversy, who was entitled to the credit of having origi- 
nated this system; a point necessarily difiicult to decide, when it is considered how naturally, 
during the progress of its experimental growth, the suggestions which might proceed infor- 
mally from the various minds engaged in and about it, would flow into one general current of 
opinion, common perhaps to several. Capt. Lynds, having unquestionably been the first to 
complete, mature and execute the plan, has generally received from public opinion the credit 
of its invention ; an honor which justice would probably require to be divided with Mr. John 
D. Cray, one of the master-workmen or architects employed in the construction of the building. 

The experiment was tried. Capt. Lynds, a man of remarkable energy and firmness of 
character, who had formerly served in the army of the United States, and who retained all 
the habits of rigid and severe military discipline there to be acquired, assembled the convicts 
together, and giving them the rules by which their conduct must be governed, told them that 
they must lienceforth labor diligently, and labor in perfect silence and non-intercourse ; and 
that for every infringement of the rules, a swift and summary punislmient should follow, of 
corporeal chastisement. This was soon proved to be no unmeaning threat, and in a short 
time, seconded by the able and unwavering exertions of his assistant-keepers, he succeeded in 
establishing this new discipline with a degree of efficiency scarcely conceivable to those who 
had not the opportunity of witnessing it. Inspected in 1824 by a committee of the legisla- 
ture, a high eulogium was passed upon it, and it was sanctioned by the formal approbation 
of that body. 

The Auburn system, therefore, in its mature and complete state, may be said to date from 
the year 1824. 

But it was soon found that its adoption must render necessary the construction of another 
prison for the eastern portion of the state, that of Auburn containing, as it was enlarged in 
1824, only 5.50 cells. An act was therefore passed to that effect on the 7th of March, 1824 ; 
under which three conunissioners were appointed, Stephen Allen, Samuel Miles Hopkins and 
George Tibbits, to select a suitable site. The village of Sing-Sing, on the Hudson river, 
thirty-three miles from New-York, was selected, and a piece of ground purchased containing 
an inexhaustible quarry of white marble, which it was designed to make not only the material 
for the construction of the building by the hands of the convicts themselves, but also a profi- 

Intr. 24 


table article on which their future labor should be employed for the beziefit of the state. To 
Capt. Lynds, who had chiefly presided over the construction of the Auburn prison, as well as 
having performed the whole service of organizing its system of discipline and labor, was 
entrusted the charge of bringing forth the new establishment, as it were, out of the bowels 
of the earth. Were it possible to question its truth, as a literal historical fact, the manner 
in which he carried this into effect would be deemed incredible. According to his own plan, 
he was directed to take a hundred of the convicts from the Auburn prison, to remove them to 
the selected site, to purchase materials, employ keepers and guards, and make them com- 
mence the construction of their own future abode. The novel spectacle was exhibited on the 
14th May, 1825, of the arrival of this band on the open ground which was to be the theatre 
of operations, without a place to receive, or even a wall to enclose them. The remarkable 
moral energy of the man effected it with a success which must always remain astonishing. 
The first day sufficed to erect a temporary barrack for shelter at night, and ever after they 
continued in uiipausing labor, watched by a small number of guards, but held under per- 
petual government of their accustomed discipline, and submission to the power whose vigi- 
lent eye and unrelaxing hand they felt to be perpetually upon them and around them. It was 
finished according to the original plan, in 1829, containing 800 cells ; to which 200 more 
were ordered to be added by an act of the following year. Another story being therefore 
raised for this purpose, the final completion of this vast and massive edifice, was in the year 
1831. A sufficient number of cells having been completed in May, 1828, the convicts in the 
old prison at New-York were removed to Sing-Sing, and that building abandoned and sold. 

In the year 1825, the legislature directed the erection of another building at Sing-Sing, 
adjacent to the main prison, though unconnected with it, for the reception of the female con- 
victs, who heretofore had been kept together by the city of New-York, at its local prison 
establishment at Bellevue, at a cost to the state of -$100 per annum for each prisoner. They 
were there in a miserable and disorderly state ; that mode of maintenance being found replete 
with all the evils which it had been the object of the improved penitentiary system, as applied 
to the males, to reform. This was completed, in an elegant style of architecture, in 1840, 
and the convicts removed to it, and placed under the charge of a matron, whose admirable 
management soon brought them to a condition of good order, neatness and industry, before 
supposed impossible by those who had witnessed their former character and conduct. 

It is unnecessary to fill the present pages with descriptions of these vast establishments of 
penitentiary labor, beyond a few simple general features common to both. The cells rise in 
tiers above each other to the height of five stories. These central structures are surrounded 
with an outer shell or envelope of a second wall, about eleven or twelve feet distant from the 
interior. Along the front of each range of cells runs a gallery. The size of the cells is 
seven feet in depth, by three and a half in width, and seven in height ; all of stone, with iron 
doors, of an open diamond grating from top to bottom, for the combined objects of security, 
ventilation and light. To these buildings are attached spacious workshops, surrounding the 
large court-yards of the prisons, in which diff"erent branches of mechanical industry are pursued. 


with the aid of machinery, in some instances on a very large scale ; the whole being 
enclosed in high outer walls, vigilantly guarded by armed sentries. The convicts wear a pe- 
culiar striped prison uniform, of coarse woollen fabric, manufactured within the prisons. 
Their movements to and fro at the regular hours in the daily routine of the life of the pri- 
sons, are all made in single file, with the lock-step, and with the heads turned all in one 
direction, facing the constant eye of the keeper of each respective division, for the prevention 
of intercommunication. At Sing-Sing they eat their meals singly in their cells ; at Auburn, 
in large eating halls, at tables at which they are seated back to back, and fronting only their 
keepers. The food is plentiful and healthy, though coarse. A scrupulous cleanhness reigns 
through every nook and corner of the establishments. The health of the prisoners is good ; 
the average of deaths being about two per cent per annum. Each prison is provided with 
a chaplain, whose whole time is devoted to his interesting though arduous pastoral charge, 
and under whose direction they receive instruction on the Sabbath in Sunday schools. The 
cells have always been supplied with bibles ; since the accession of the present executive of 
the state, and by his direction, other books have been added, suitably selected for instruction 
and moral improvement. For many years the establishments have not only defrayed the cost 
of their own maintenance, but have continued to earn annually a large excess to the benefit 
of the general revenues of the state. The mode employed of using the labor of the con- 
victs is to let it out at certain rates per diem, for fixed periods, to contractors in the different 
branches of industry pursued. 

The proper limits of the present occasion forbid the expansion of this brief account with 
any further details of the operation of the system, whose gradual growth has been thus 
related. As has been already remarked, the conflict of opinion between the supporters of 
the Auburn system, of social labor in silence by day, with solitary confinement by night, and 
the Pemisylvania system, of uninterrupted solitary confinement with labor, has been carried 
on with no small degree of both earnestness and ability. The advocacy of the Auburn sys- 
tem has been chiefly sustained by the Boston Prison Discipline Society, the annual reports of 
which have continued, from the institution of that society in 1825, to hold it up to the admi- 
ration and imitation of the world, in terms of unqualified eulogium. The prisons have been 
visited by many thousands of strangers, from foreign countries as well as from the other 
states of this Union, attracted by the celebrity which they have acquired ; and even those 
whose preference has inclined in favor of the theory of the Pennsylvania system, have not 
failed to accord a high degree of praise to the many admirable features characterizing ours, 
as well as to the excellent management with which they have been practically administered. 
The following States have since erected penitentiaries for the most part in imitation of the 
model thus afibrded : Maine, New-Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mary- 
land, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois and Ohio ; together with the two provinces of 
Upper and Lower Canada ; not to speak of numerous city prisons and county jails. 

We are far from desirous of pronouncing even an opinion in relation to this controversy. 
There are undoubtedly some features in the Auburn system which its best friends would 


gladly see amended, if it could be done consistently with the efficient maintenance of the 
general whole of which these are particular parts ; nor can it be pretended that the object of 
the prevention of intercourse between the convicts, by a thousand modes of communication 
beyond the reach of any degree of vigilance, either has been or ever can be attained, to the 
degree supposed by many who simply witness the apparent silence that reigns throughout the 

At the last session, provision was inade for the appointment of a commissioner to examine 
certain locations in the northern part of the state, with a view to ascertain the practicability of 
employing the convicts, in a new prison proposed to be erected, in the labor of mimng. The 
system may therefore be represented as still in a somewhat unsettled state ; and a short period 
may witness the application to it of changes, of which it might not be easy to predict either 
the extent or the nature, even if it were proper here to engage in any speculation of this cha- 

A few words, before passing from this subject, are due to another excellent institution 
which occupies a not unimportant position in the penitentiary system of the state — the insti- 
tution for the reformation of juvenile delinquents, in the city of New- York, commonly known 
as the House of Refuge. This was the first establisliment of this kind in the union, having 
been founded in the year 1824 ; though it presented an example which was speedily followed 
by other states. It grew out of the philanthropic efforts of a private association of gentlemen 
in New-York, who were incorporated March 29, 1824, under the title of the "Society for 
the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents ;" among whom it will not be deemed invidious to 
particularize as among the most prominent and active, the late Thomas Eddy and Cadwalladcr 
D. Golden, and also Mr. Charles G. Haines, who, as chairman of a voluntary committee, was 
the author, in 1824, of a very able and valuable report on the history and discipline of peniten- 
tiaries in the United States, from which much aid has been derived in the hasty preparation of 
these pages. It was founded on a basis of private subscription, aided by annual assistance from 
the state ; and is administered by officers chosen by the society, and superintended by its 
constant vigilance, under a system of general laws for its government, enacted by the legisla- 
ture. It thus partakes of the character partly of a private, though mainly of a public institu- 
tion ; while it has been one of very eminent utihty for the rescue of thousands from a career 
of crime and ruin. It is conducted for the most part on the general plan of the Auburn esta- 
blishment, though moderated in severity, and adapted to the different class of subjects em- 
braced within its action ; children of both sexes are received in it under the age of sixteen. It 
is a just subject of pride to both the state and the city, as well as of gratitude to its founders 
and supporters. 

To William H. Seward, 

Governor of the State of New- York. 


I submit a Report on the Zoology of the State ; 

And have the honor to be, 

With great respect, 

Your obedient servant, 


The Locusts, Queens Co., L. I. 
January 1, 1842. 


The examination of the Quadrupeds, (or as they are with more exactness, 
although perhaps with less elegance named, the Mammaha or Mammiferous 
animals) of the United States, has, until recently, attracted comparatively little at- 
tention among our own citizens. A {ew isolated species had been casually noticed, 
a few detached facts recorded ; and here and there, over this widely extended 
country, a few zealous observers, aware of the general apathy at home, had 
transmitted their observations to distinguished foreign naturalists. Such instances 
were, however, of comparatively rare occurrence. The chief historians of our 
animals have been foreigners, either accidentally led to our shores by motives 
entirely unconnected with scientific pursuits, or naturalists sent out under the 
patronage of their respective governments, to collect and describe our animals. 
In the first class may be mentioned De Liancourt, De Chastellux and others ; in 
the second, Bosc, Kalm, Michaux and Pal. de Beauvois. To these, and to other 
European naturalists who have described through the imperfect and often dis- 
torted medium of preserved specimens, we are indebted for the greater part of 
the knowledge which we possess respecting many of our own animals. 

Of late years, the attention of our countrymen has been more directed to the 
study of Zoology. The establishment of the Academy of Natural Sciences at 
Philadelphia, forms an epoch in this department of knowledge. This was soon 
succeeded by the formation of the Lyceum of Natural History of New- York, 
and by others in Boston, Baltimore, New-Haven and Salem. The American 
Journal of Science, which, under the efficient guidance of Professor Silliman, 
has now reached its forty-third volume, is a rich mine to the American naturalist, 
and has contributed to promote and extend a taste for such inquiries. 

Prep. 1 


At the commencement of the Survey, the services of an eminent naturalist, 
Mr. Abraham Halsey, of Nev;r-York, w^ere engaged for the department of zoo- 
logy ; but before he had entered upon its duties, other engagements and occupa- 
tions demanded his attention, and he resigned his office. We may be permitted 
to express our regret that circumstances should have prevented him from under- 
taking a task, which could not have been committed to an abler hand. 

In the execution of this part of the work, I have to acknowledge my obliga- 
tions to Maj. Le Conte, for the valuable hints he has suggested, and the oppor- 
tunities which he has afforded of examining his drawings, manuscripts and spe- 
cimens. To Dr. Emmons, of the geological department of the Survey, I am 
obliged for his numerous specimens and communications. His many sterling 
quahties can scarcely be appreciated, except by those who, like myself, have 
been the companion of his journies through the uninhabited and as yet unknown 
forests of the northern district. To Prof Hall, also of the Survey, I am indebted 
for several specimens, and for valuable communications on the zoology of the 
State. Mr. J. G. Bell and Mr. W. Cooper of New- York, Dr. Harlan of Phila- 
delphia, and the Rev. Mr. Linsley of Elmwood Place, Connecticut, have also in 
various ways facilitated my inquiries. I must also record my obligations to the 
Lyceum of Natural History of New-York, for the opportunities which their 
valuable collection has afforded me of comparison and description. 

Having thus briefly adverted to the sources of information, in connection more 
especially with the Mammalia of the State, it may be deemed proper to give a 
concise sketch of the region whose animals we have undertaken to describe. 

New- York, one of the twenty-six States of the North American Confederacy, 
lies wholly within the temperate zone. Its figure may be compared to that of 
an irregular triangle, with its apex touching the Atlantic, and one of its sides 
bounded by two of the great inland seas, and by their outlet to the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence. Its connection with the Atlantic is extended easterly one hundred 
and forty miles, by a low sandy spur called Long Island. Including this easterly 
prolongation, the State of New- York may be said to extend through eight de- 
grees of longitude, and to be included between 40° 30' and 45° of north latitude. 
It contains more than 46,000 square miles, a surface larger in extent than that 
contained in Poland or Scotland, or Naples and Sicily ; three times larger than 
the Swiss Confederacy, and nearly equal in extent to that of England. Although 
situated within the same parallels of latitude which include the greater part of 


Italy, the south of France, and the northern parts of Spain ; yet from the well 
established fact of the more southerly position of the isothermal lines on the 
western shores of the Atlantic, its mean annual temperature cannot be compared 
with that of the above mentioned countries, but rather with those lying from 
fifteen to twenty degrees farther north. The result of ten years' observations at 
New- York, gives one hundred and sixty-five days, or about five months, as the 
mean duration of winter ; but in the interior or northern district, many of the 
counties have scarcely a month without frost. This, it will readily be perceived, 
must exercise a great influence upon the number and distribution of its animals; 
for while it has the summer heats of Spain and Italy, the rigor of its winters 
equals those of the northern portions of Europe. From this diversity of climate, 
it results that we have in the State similar classes of animals with those found in 
the northern parts of Europe, and at the same time other families existing chiefly 
in its southern portions. The families Cemidce and MustelidcB may serve as 
examples of the one, while the Vespertilionidce and Muridce will illustrate the 

Varieties of surface are also well known to be favorable to the multiplication 
of animal species, and in this respect, the State of New- York offers a great diver- 
sity ; for although few of its mountains exceed the height of five thousand feet, 
yet from the peculiarity of climate alluded to above, their summits have a tem- 
perature much lower than mountains of even higher altitude in corresponding 
parallels in Europe. The surface of New- York is considerably elevated, much 
of it lying on the great Allegany table land. The diversity of surface is, how- 
ever, so great, that for the purposes of more intelligible description, we may 
consider it as divided into four principal zoological districts, each sufficiently dis- 
tinct in itself, but of course so much blended at the lines of separation as not to 
be contradistinguished. 

1. The Western District, includes that portion of the State which is bounded 
on the west and north by Lakes Erie and Ontario, and on the south by the 
boundary line separating it from the State of Pennsylvania ; and it extends east- 
wardlj' until it is lost in the valley of the Mohawk on the north, and the moun- 
tainous parts of the Hudson district. A large portion of this district is an elevated 
region, furrowed by valleys running in a north and south direction, supposed 
once to have been the outlets of a great inland ocean, but now the beds of rivers 
which, pursuing opposite courses, discharge themselves on the one hand through 


Lake Ontario into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and on the other into the Delaware 
and Chesapeake bays, and into the Gulf of Mexico. The central portion of this 
district is a level table land, rising in its southern parts into elevations of from a 
thousand to twelve hundred feet above tide, and abruptly subsiding on its western 
borders to the level of the great lakes. In the western part, we have the Cat- 
taraugus and Tonawanda streams pouring into Lake Erie and Niagara river ; 
the sources of the Allegany river ; one of the branches of the Ohio, itself a tribu- 
tary to the Mississippi ; and another branch of the Allegany takes its rise from 
Chautauque lake, a sheet of water sixteen miles in length, 1291 feet above tide, 
and 72G above Lake Erie. Eastward of these is the Genesee river, which, 
taking its rise in Pennsylvania, crosses the whole district in a north direction, and 
empties into Lake Ontario. As we proceed eastwardly, we cross successively, in 
the southern portions of this district, the Canisteo, Conhocton, Chenango, and 
great western branch or principal source of the Susquehannah, which takes its 
rise in the Otsego lake, a sheet of water nine miles long, with a breadth varying 
from three quarters of a mile to thi'ee miles. The central portions of this district 
are occupied by a series of ten to twelve lakes, stretching generally to north and 
south, varying from fifteen to thirty-eight miles in length ; all discharging them- 
selves by one common outlet, the Oswego river, into Lake Ontario. On its ex- 
tremely eastern border rises the Mohawk, a tributary of the Hudson, which con- 
nects it zoologically with the Hudson river district. The great inland seas of 
Erie and Ontario, the one two hundred and seventy miles in length, with a 
breadth from twenty to fifty miles ; and the other one hundred and ninety miles, 
with an average breadth of forty miles, exercise a great influence on its climate 
and consequent zoological character. The surface of Lake Erie, which is three 
hundred and thirty-four feet above Lake Ontario, discharges its waters through 
the rapids and falls of Niagara river, into that lake, within a distance of thirty-six 
miles. This entire district is exceedingly fertile, and is covered by a vigorous 
growth of forest trees in the uncultivated portions. Without entering into details 
which would find a more appropriate place in a topogi-aphical survey, it will be 
perceived, that while on the one hand the vicinity of such large masses of water 
must ameliorate its climate, its fertile soil irrigated by so many streams wall fur- 
nish the means of subsistence to numerous species of animals. It is zoologically 
connected by its valleys and water courses with the great basin of the St. Law- 
rence, and we accordingly find in this district animals common to both, although 


not to so great an extent as in the region next to be described. Among the 
Mamnrialia, we find the Northern Lynx, the Deer Mouse and Porcupine ; while 
all the lakes in the interior of this district, which empty into the Lake Ontario, 
formerly abounded with Salmon, which found their way from the sea through 
the Gulf and River St. Lawrence. In its southern portions it is similarly con- 
nected with the basin of the Mississippi, and the intermediate regions are watered 
by the streams which empty into the Delaware and Chesapeake. 

2. The Northern District comprises, as its name imports, the northern portion 
of the State, which forms an irregular truncated triangle, bounded on its western 
side by Lake Ontario and the River St. Lawrence, on its eastern side by Lake 
Champlain and Lake George, and lying north of the Mohawk valley. This 
district, in its southern and southeastern jwrtions, rises into numerous conical 
peaks and short ranges, attaining in some places an elevation of more than five 
thousand feet. Towards Lakes Champlain and George, these subside suddenly 
to the level of those sheets of water. To the north and northwest, this descends 
by a gradual and almost imperceptible slope towards the River St. Lawrence. 
This slope is watered by the Oswegatchie, the Moose and Black rivers, the Ra- 
quet and Grass and St. Regis rivers, all arising from numerous lakes embosomed 
in the mountainous regions of its southern parts. Lake Champlain, a part of its 
eastern boundary, extends north and south one hundred and forty miles, is twelve 
miles wide in its broadest part, and discharges its water through the Sorel river 
into the St. Lawrence. Into the southern part of this lake is also poured the wa- 
ters of Lake George or Horicon, thirty-seven miles long, and varying from one 
to seven miles in breadth. The cluster of mountains in its southeastern portions 
may be considered as an offset from the great Appalachian system, which, de- 
scending through the States of Maine, New-Hampshire and Vermont, passes 
southwesterly between the Western and Hudson river districts, and is continued 
under the name of the Allegany range of mountains. In this region too we find the 
Sacondaga, Cedar, JessuiJ, and other tributaries of the Hudson, within a short 
distance of those which pour into the St. Lawrence. This mountainous region 
comprises the counties of Essex, Hamilton, Herkimer and Warren, and the 
southern part of the counties of Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence, and has 
been estimated to contain an area of about six thousand square miles. Its zoolo- 
gical character is strongly impressed by the features just alluded to. The chief 
growth of trees in this district are the Spruce, Pine, Larch, Balsam, Fir and 


Cedar. We find in this district many of the fut-bearing animals, such as the 
Sable, the Fisher, and the Beaver. Here too roam the Moose, the Wolverine, 
and others now only found in high northern latitudes. It also forms the southern 
limits of the migration of many arctic birds ; and we accordingly meet here with 
the Canada Jay and Spruce Grouse, the Swan, the Raven and the Arctic Wood- 

3. Tlie Hudson Valley District, includes those counties watered by the River 
Hudson and its tributaries. Its chief tributary, the Mohawk, after a course of 
about one hundred and forty miles, enters the Hudson from the west, at the dis- 
tance of one hundred and sixty miles from its entrance into the ocean. The 
shape of this district is of course modified by the length and direction of the 
Mohawk river, and bears some resemblance to the letter q; inverted. Smaller 
than either of the two preceding, it is nevertheless of much zoological interest. 
At its upper portion, it is connected with the Northern district, and contains many 
animals in common with the States bordering on the eastern margin. Along its 
western border, it becomes elevated into high ranges of mountains, called the 
Kaaterskills, some of which attain an elevation of nearly four thousand feet, 
containing deer, wolves, panthers and bears. By the valley of the Mohawk, it 
is zoologically connected with the Western district ; and this connection is be- 
coming daily more obvious, by the great artificial water channels which reflect so 
much honor on the zeal and enterprise of her citizens. Thus the Soft-shelled 
Turtle and Rock Bass of Lake Erie is now found in the Hudson ; in the same 
way that the Yellow Perch, the Muskallonge, and others peculiar to the great 
lakes, have, by means of the Ohio canal, found their way into the Mississippi 
throut^h the Ohio. On the south it is connected with the Atlantic, and accord- 
ingly we find it teeming with the inhabitants of the ocean. On the other hand, 
the Hudson river appears to form a natural geographic limit to the extension of 
some species, at least in any considerable numbers. Thus, the Opossum of the 
South rarely, if ever, outsteps this boundary ; among reptiles, the Chain Snake 
and Brown Swift, and the Buzzard and many other species among the birds. 
From the north also this river appears to be a barrier to their progress south ; 
but these will be more fully detailed in the course of the following pages. 

4. The Atlantic District comprises Long Island, with a medium breadth of ten 
miles, extending in a northeasterly direction one hundred and fifty miles. Its in- 
sular position influences its climate, and we accordingly find a great difference 


between its temperature and that of the main land. It is a low sandy region, 
with extensive plains, and rising along its northern borders into hills of moderate 
elevation, at but one point only exceeding three hundred feet in height. Although 
much smaller than any of the preceding districts, yet it possesses some zoological 
features of interest. Its insular position, and its early settlement, has occasioned 
the extirpation of the larger quadrupeds, such as the Otter, Wolf and Bear ; but 
deer are still numerous. It is more remarkable for the abundance and variety of 
its birds, than for the number of its mammalia. Here we find the extreme 
southern limits of the migrations of the arctic species, and the northernmost 
termination of the wanderings of the birds of the torrid zone. Thus we find in 
winter in this district, the Eider Duck, the Little White Goose, the Great Cor- 
morant, the Auk, and many others from the Arctic ocean. During the heats of 
summer, we meet with the Turkey Buzzard and Swallow-tailed Kite, the Fork- 
tailed Flycatcher from the tropical wilds of Guiana, and numerous others from 
the south. It seems also to be the boundary between the fishes and other classes 
of the northern and tropical seas, and occasionally furnishes specimens from either 

In conclusion, we have to make a few observations respecting the illustrations 
which accompany this work. These were all executed by Mr. J. W. Hill, and 
with the exceptions which are noted in their proper places, were taken from the 
animal itself, either alive, or from specimens carefully mounted by persons who 
had been conversant with their habits during life. In some classes, where the 
colors were fleeting, several individuals were successively employed, in order to 
secure with more certainty their evanescent hues. The outlines in all cases were 
taken with the camera lucida, which we conceive to be the best and most ex- 
peditious mode hitherto devised. It will be observed that the figures are not on 
a uniform scale, and that a small animal is often represented apparently larger 
than one of greater bulk. This could not be remedied, except by drawing them 
all on a scale which would have involved an expense of time and means utterly 
useless, and inadequate to the pur^Doses of the Survey. This apparent defect is 
remedied by a notice on the plate, of the scale upon which the species is drawn ; 
and the measurements throughout the work are uniformly given in feet, inches, 
tenths and hundredths, which correspond with those employed by the English. 

It was originally proposed to employ the most eminent engravers upon the 
illustrations, in order to render the work more worthy of the State under whose 
auspices it was undertaken, and at the same time to furnish specimens of the 


State of this particular branch of the fine arts at the period of pubUcation. This 
was, however, soon found to involve an enormous expense, and to be accompanied 
with a delay utterly incompatible with the early publication of the work. Most 
of the Mammalia, and a few of the Birds and Fishes, are thus executed ; but we 
hope that in the lithographies furnished by Mr. G. Endicott, the naturalist will 
not regret a departure from the original plan. 

In one instance I have introduced the figure of a species not known with cer- 
tainty to exist in the United States, and for which an explanation may appear 
necessary. I allude to the Manati, or Sea Cow of South America. The exceed- 
ingly rare opportunity which I had of examining this animal in a living state, of 
having a faithful drawing made, and of being subsequently enabled to enter into 
some of the osteological details, was too valuable to be allowed to escape. It 
was thought that it would be interesting to the American naturalist, to be thus 
enabled to compare it with the Florida Manati, from which it has been strongly 
suspected to be specifically distinct. I was, moreover, desirous of giving an 
accurate illustration of one of the herbivorous cetacea, a group the least known 
of all the class Mammalia. 

I may possibly have attached more importance to the various popular names 
given in different districts, than will j^erhaps be acknowledged by the technical 
naturalist. It has been objected to their use, that they are often unmeaning or 
absurd, and often doubtful in their application. The careful collator of syno- 
nimes will, however, doubtless have discovered that the same charge may often be 
applied to names drawn up with technical nicety, and in conformity with the laws 
of nomenclature. As this work is intended for general readers, I have introduced 
popular names whenever they could be obtained. The greater part of our 
knowledge of the habits of animals is derived from persons unskilled in natural 
history ; and the fact that the same popular name is variously employed in diffe- 
rent districts, will often enable us to avoid error. A familiar example of this is 
afforded by the history of the Wolverine. Under this name three different ani- 
mals, the Northern Lynx, the Wolverine proper and the Bay Lynx have been 
described, and their habits strangely confounded by writers who were not aware 
that the same popular name had been applied in different districts to them all. 

In consulting authorities, we have taken pains to cite all the American writers 
within our reach. The student is frequently at a loss where to find descriptions 
of such animals as may come under his notice ; and these are distributed through 

PREFACE. xiii 

SO many journals, magazines and other periodicals entirely unconnected with 
natural history, that we hope their citation will be favorably received. In set- 
tling the weight due to contradictory statements, we have endeavored to avoid 
the influence which is supposed to be connected with the verba magistri; and in 
all cases have freely, and we trust not offensively, expressed our opinions when 
our own observations have been at variance with those of previous writers. 


The Locusts, Queens County. 

January 1, 1842. , 















■( MustelidoB,. 
Lutrids, .. 




Arctomidas, . . 
Gerbillidse, .. 











BalaenidK,. . 



















































The characters assigned to this class arc suiEciently distinctive ; and yet, with the single 
cvception of suckhng their young, none are absolute or invariable. Thus in the Manis and 
Armadillo of South America, the body is covered with scales ; in the Manatus of Florida, 
there are but two feet ; and these in the IVJiales, Porpoises, &c. are reduced to the shape 
and functions of fins. In the totality of the characters, however, we obtain a correct idea of 
the class under consideration. 

According to the generally received arrangement of the animals of this class, it is divided 
into seven orders.* The characters of two of these are derived from the number or structural 
functions of their extremities ; of three, from the form, disposition or entire absence of their 
teeth ; of the sixth, fi;om the nature of the coverings of their feet ; and of the seventh, from 
the form of their body, and the element in which they live, and the peculiar shape and arrange- 
ment of their extremities. 

♦ From the lime of Aristotle to the present lUy, Man has invariably been pi. iced at tlic head of this class. There are not 
wanting, however, many eminent naturalists, who are unwilling to see Man standing as a representative of a Genus, or even of 
of an Order among his kindred brutes; who are not disposed to admit that Man, created in the image of God, has any affinity 
with the beasts that perish ; or that, because he possesses certain zoological characters which are entirely secondary and subor- 
dinate, he should be classed with brutes, when his noblest attribute, reason, destroys every vestige of affiniiy, and places him 
immeasurably above them alL 

Fauna. 1 


In any natural arrangement, the most appropriate distinction of each order would seem to 
be that which is derived from the same set of organs. This has, however, been attempted in 
vain ; and we are accordingly left at liberty to select from the various systems that which 
may seem best adapted to the great end proposed by all naturahsts, the knowledge of species, 
and their relations to each other. 

The animals arranged under the Order Quadrumana, comprising Lemurs, Monkeys, &c. 
are rarely found on this continent beyond the tropical regions, and of course are not known 
within our territorial limits. Lichtenstein asserts that none have been seen beyond the twenty- 
ninth degree of north latitude. 


Carnivorous and herbivorous. Thumb of the hind feet opposable to the toes, the nail small 
or wanting. Many of the females with abdominal pouches opening externally, and sup- 
ported by peculiar bones attached to the pubis. Teeth various, but usually nuinej-ous. 
Tail long, naked or hairy, generally prehensile. 

Obs. The natural position of the animals belonging to this order, has long exercised the 
ingenuity of naturalists. Their internal organization is so varied and peculiar, that as Cuvier 
observes, they may be looked upon as a class containing several orders running parallel with 
the orders of the ordinary quadrupeds. Some species, by their teeth, naturally belong to the 
Order Carnivora ; whilst others can only be arranged (in a system derived from the teeth 
alone) with the Order Rodentia ; and this has in fact been attempted by some naturalists. 

We have ventured to place this order here, as it seems to form, by the structure of its feet 
and tail, a natural passage from the Quadrumana. 


Three kinds of teeth, forming nearly a continuous series. Tail long, naked or hairy, usually 
prehensile. Female with a loose fold of skin on the abdomen, fortning a sac or pouch for 
the reception of her young. 

Obs. The animals of this family are found in America, Australia and the Indian Archi- 
pelago. The sac or pouch is supported by two bones attached to the pubis ; and it is worthy 
of note, that the male, who has no pouch, nevertheless possesses these marsupial bones. It 
is stated by geologists, that the earliest mammiferous animals whose remains are found in the 
ancient strata belong to this order. None have been found, we believe, in North America, 


and they are of very rare occurrence in any part of the world.* There are about fifty living 
species, distributed among ten or twelve genera, which iiave been described by diflereni natu- 
ralists ; but one only is found in the United States. 


Muzzle pointed ; cars large and membranous. Internal toe of the hind foot opposable, with- 
out a nail. Tail half hairy and scaly. Teats varying in number, and placed within the 
pouch. Teeth, 48 - 50 ; Incisors, '/ ; Canines, f ; Cheek teeth, ^^ . 




Virginian Opossum. Pennant, Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 73; Hist. Quad. Vol. 2, p. 18, pi. 63. 
Le Sarigue a oreilles bicoiores, CuviER, Regno Animal, Vol. 1, p. 172. Ed. prim.t. 
Didelphis virginiana. Harlan, Fauna, p. 119. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol.2, p. 7 (figure). 
Virginian Opossum. Griffith's Cuv. Vol. 3, p. 24 (figure). 

Characteristics. Greyish white. Fur woolly, intermixed with long white hair. Ears black ; 
base and margin flesh color. Length two feet. 

Description. Head long and pointed, with the facial outline nearly straight ; long black 
bristles on the sides of the nose, over each eye and on the sides of the cheeks. Eyes oblique, 
and placed near the facial outline. Nostrils separated by a groove. Ears thin, membranous. 
Gape of the mouth wide, and exhibiting most of the teeth. Nails rather short, and curved 
on all the toes, except on the thumb or inner toe of the posterior extremities. In the figure 
given by Godman, this is represented as clawed, but his generic character asserts the con- 
trary. Soles of the hind feet furnished with large fleshy tubercles. ]\Iammae or teats are, 
according to Desmarest, thirteen in number, and disposed in a circle around a central one ; 
according to Godman, there are eight on each side, which we suppose to be the normal num- 
ber. Tail enlarged at the base, where it is hairy for about four inches ; the remaining part 
scaly, and covered with a few inconspicuous sliort rigid hairs. Fur of two kinds ; a short 
woolly hair beneath, intermixed with longer and more rigid hairs, but all arc very sofl. 
Incisors ten above, the two anterior rather cylindrical, longest ; an interspace between the 
incisors and the canine, which is compressed and pointed ; the first jaw tooth smallest, the 
four first compressed, the three last transversely broader. In the lower jaw, the eight inci- 
sors rounded and directed forwards, with no interspace between them and the canine. The 
cheek teeth with regular points, and not transversely dilated. 

Color. Greyish white, darker along the sides ; on the face and abdomen, lighter grey. 
This color is produced by the intermixture of the short wool, which is white at the base and 

* Brodeeip, Zool. Journ. Vol. 3, page 408. 


black al the tips, with the long white hairs. On the back, and on the legs, this color be- 
comes of a deeper hue, with various shades of intensity, sometimes even approaching to 
black. Ears black at base, the borders white. 

Length of head and body, 15- - 20*0. 

Length of tail, 10-0- 12-0. 

Weight, 10-14 lbs. 

The Opossum is a nocturnal animal, moving with great agility among the branches of trees, 
and using his tail as a means of support, in the same way that it is employed by the members 
of the Family Cebida, or Monkeys of South America. On the ground his movements are 
clumsy and slow, and he appears to depend more upon cunning than upon strength or activity 
for the means of escape. When surprised on the ground, he compresses himself into the 
smallest possible space, and remains perfectly quiet. If discovered, and even handled in this 
state, it still counterfeits death, and takes the first opportunity to effect its escape. From 
this and other traits of cunning, has arisen the local phrase of " playing possum," to designate 
any adroit cheat. 

The singular and anomalous organization of this animal, and its consequent peculiarities of 
reproduction, have long excited much attention among scientific inquirers. The young are 
found in the external abdominal sac, firmly attached to a teat in the form of a small gelati- 
nous body, not weighing more than a grain. It was for a long time believed that there 
existed a direct passage from the uterus to the teat, but this has been disproved by dissection. 
Another opinion is, that the embryo is excluded from the uterus in the usual manner, and 
placed by the mother to the teat ; and a third, that the embryo is formed where it is first 
found. Whether this transfer actually takes place, and, if so, the physiological considera- 
tions connected with it, still remain involved in great obscurity. 

I do not find with whom the Latin specific name originated. It is usually attributed to 
Pennant, who, in his History of Quadrupeds, calls it the Virginia Opossum, and refers to 
Linneus under the name of Didelphis marsupialis. In Gmelin, it stands as Didelphis (pos- 

The Opossum is an inhabitant of the temperate regions of North America. Although it 
is abvmdant in New-Jersey, I have never seen it in this State, but have heard that it has 
been noticed in the southern counties on the west side of the River Hudson, and it will pro- 
bably be found in the western counties. I am not aware that it has ever been observed east of 
the Hudson. It inhabits chiefly wooded districts, and, as might be inferred from its struc- 
ture, passes most of its life on trees. It feeds on birds and their eggs, on wild fruits, espe- 
cially the pcrsimon (Diospyros virginiana.) It is an excellent article of food, resembling in 
flavor that of a sucking pig. When pressed by hunger, it occasionally prowls round the 
barnyard, and commits ravages among the poultry. Its westerly distribution extends to the 
Pacific, as it has been found in California, and it is asserted to be common in Mexico, and 
inhabits all the intertropical regions ; but it is possible that it may have been confounded with 
two other closely allied species found in South America. 



Furnished with sharp and strong claivs. Three kinds of teeth, differing considerably from 
each other. Living exclusively on animal substances, and the more exclusively so as their 
teeth are furnished with acute points. No thumbs on the fore feet opposable to the other 

This order embraces animals exceedingly varied in form, such as the Bat and Seal, Shrew- 
moles, and Bears. It represents the Order Fera of Linneus, and a portion of his Primates. 
In this State, we have the representatives of eight families. 


Anterior fingers excessively prolonged ; the antei-ior and posterior extremities connected by 
a more or less naked expansio7i of the skin, adapted to flight. Two pectoral mammae. 
Penis external, pendulous. Incisors varying in number. Summits of the cheek teeth 
ending in sharp points. Prey upon the wing. Hybernate. 

This is a natural and very numerous group, comprising more than one hundred and fifty 
species, distributed over the globe. These are arranged by modern systematic writers under 
twenty-seven genera, and this has been subsequently carried to forty-eight genera. Their 
habits are nocturnal, feeding almost exclusively upon winged insects. Some species, however, 
are occasionally seen flying about in open daylight. We have noticed five species in the 
State of New-York, all included under one genus. 


Incisors tivo to four above and six beneath; anterior cheek teeth simple conic ; the posterior 
with sharp points. No nasal appendages ; the ears lateral and distinct. The index finger 
of one joint. Tail rarely exceeding the interfemoral me7nbrane. 

Obs. In this latitude, the Bat, on the approach of winter, retreats to cavities in trees, or to 
caverns, and becomes perfectly torpid. They bring forth from one to three at a birth, in the 
months of June and July. Period of gestation unknown. 



Vespertilio noveboracensis. 


New-York Bat. Pennant, Arctic Zoology, Vol. 1, 184. 
Vespertilio noveboracensis. LlNNEUS, Syst. Gen. 
Red Bat. Wilson, Am. Ornithology, Vol. 6, plate 50. 
Vespertilio ntfus. Warden, Disc. U. S. Vol. 5, GOS. 
Vespertilio noveboracensis. Harlan, Fauna Americana, p. 20. 
V. id. GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, 68, figure. 

Taphozotis rufus. Harlan, Faun. Am. p. 23. 

New-York Bat. Cooper, Ann. Lye. New-York, Vol. 3, 57. Kirtland, Zool. Report, p. 175. Emmons, Mass. Rep. 
1840, p. 9. 

Characteristics. Color reddish tawny. Brachial membrane naked above, except near the body 
and at the base of the phalanges. A patch of white hairs at the insertion 
of the wings. 

Descriptio?i. Ears broad, with an obtuse tip and a naked anterior lobe. Nostrils tubular, 
with a few short black whiskers on the sides of the cheeks. Interfemoral membrane broader 
than long, including the entire tail, and is supported by a bony process from the tibia on each 
side a quarter of an inch long. This process is most obvious from beneath. The membrane 
is naked beneath for more than two-thirds of its extent ; hairy above. Hind feet with five 
subequal toes, of which the interior is shortest. Brachial membrane entirely naked, except 
near the tiiumb. Dental formula : Incisors, f ; canines, | ; cheek teeth, j\ = 30. 

Color, of the head and cheeks reddish tawny, which is also the general color of the fur on 
the body above, frequently mixed with white, and producing a light cream or hoary color, 
and often a bright chesnut red. A small portion of the brachial membrane nearest the body, 
and the whole of the interfemoral membrane, together with the legs, covered with tawnj^ hair ; 
this is longest, and varied with white, on the sides of the body. Beneath, the general color is 
somewhat lighter, and the fur extends but a short distance down the interfemoral membrane. 
A white patch of hair on the sides of the body near the insertion of the wings, most con- 
spicuous on the under side. The brachial membrane is dark brown, with lighter colored 
reticulations, and entirely denuded, except near the thumb-nail above and a short distance 
along the course of the forefinger, where we may observe a few white hairs. On the under 
side of this membrane is a patch of light tawny hair at the base of the phalanges, and extend- 
ing sparsely along the forearm. 

Totallcngth, 3-0- 40. 

Length of tail, 1*5- TS. 

Spread of wings, 10-0-12-0. 

This is ilie most common species in our State, and can scarcely be confounded with any 
other unless it may be with the Hoary Bat. It is usually, however, smaller, but resembles it in 


its dentition, and frequently in its external markings, even to the white spot at the insertion of 
the wings. Its strongest distinctive character is to be found in its general tawny hue, and 
the absence of a hairy patch at the elbow or first joint of the forearm. One of the specimens, 
which furnished us with the preceding description, is among the largest we have seen, ap- 
proaching very nearly in size to the hoary bat. 

■The geographical range of this species, as far as. it has yet been noticed, extends between 
the thirty-third and forty-second parallels of latitude, and from Massachusetts to the Rocky 
Mountains. According to Kirtland, it is comparatively a rare animal in Ohio. Except in the 
northern mountainous districts, it occurs in every part of this State. 


Vespertilio pruinosus. 


Vespertilio pTiuTLOsus. Say, Long^s Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Vol, 1, p. 168. 

V. id, Harlan, Fauna Americana, p. 221. Godman, Am. Nat, History, Vol. 1, p. 68, figure 3. 

V. id. RicuARDSOM, Fauna Boreali Americana, Vol. 1, p. 1. 

V. id. Cooper, Ann. Lyceum N. Y. Vol. 4, p. 51. 

V. id. Wheatland, Essex Journal Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 76. Emmons, Mass. Rep, 1840, p. 8, 

Characteristics, Greyish above. Margin of the interfemoral membrane naked; a small white 
hairy patch at the elbow and wrist above. Lips and chin black. Throat 
with a fawn-colored band. 

Description. Body robust. Ears broad, short and rounded ; naked on the superior margins, 
hairy within, and with- a tuft of fawn-colored hair behind the anterior margin, which is broadly 
dilated and free at the base. Tragus or inner ear hairy externally, convex on its outer margin, 
concave on its inner margin, and terminating in an obtuse tip. Wing membrane naked above 
the small tufts noted in the specific phrase. Interfemoral membrane hairy, except along the 
external margins. Beneath, the humeral membrane is covered with dense hair except on the 
margin ; at the insertion of the wings behind the humerus, there is a broad patch of hair 
extending to the elbow, and forming a band 0'4 broad, along the course of the forearm to 
the wrist ; the remaining part of this membrane is naked. Forearm longer than the tail, 
which is entirely included in the membrane. Richardson, however, states that in the 
specimen which he examined, there was a very slight smooth projection of the tail. This 
may be the case in prepared specimens, but I have not noticed it in recent subjects. Tibial 
processes stout, and O'S long. Dental formula: Incisors, f ; canines, |; cheek teeth, 

i| = 34. 

Color. Upper part of the liead, light yellowish ; the parts surrounding tlie mouth and 
nose, deep blackish brown ; posterior part of the ears two colors, light yellowish at the 
base, black along the margins ; internally there are short greyish hairs ; margin black and 
naked, except on the portion near the nose, where there is a patch of short light yellowish 


hairs. Body and interfemoral membrane above covered with hair, black at the base, then 
hght yellowish, subsequently black, and finally tipped with white. From this results a gene- 
ral grey or hoary appearance, which suggested the specific name. Towards the margin of 
the interfemoral membrane, this hoary color passes into faint reddish. Humeral membrane 
dusky, with a reddish tint near the shoulder. Beneath, a buff colored band or cravat sur- 
rounds tiie neck ; the breast colored like the back, and passing into clay yellow on the abdo- 
men and the anterior part of the interfemoral membrane. 

Totallength, 4-8. Thumbnail, 0-4. 

Length of tail, 1-6. Tibia, 0-8. 

Forearm, 2'0. Spread, 15'5. 

This is the largest species observed in this State. It appears to be less nocturnal than 
many of the other species, and retires quite late to its winter quarters. On the 12th December 
of this year, (1841,) I noticed two flying about quite actively shortly before noon. It is not 
a common species. Its geographical range is very extensive. It was first discovered by 
Nuttall, at Council Bluff on the Missouri ; subsequently seen in Georgia by Le Contc, and 
since noticed in Pemisylvania and Massachusetts. It was found by Richardson as far north 
as the fifty-fourth degree of latitude. Nothing is known of its habits. 


Vespertilio subulatus. 


Vespertilio subulatus. Say, Long's Exped. Vol. 2, p. 65. 

V. caroUiietisis, var. Haelan, Fauna Amer. p. 22. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 71. 

V. domeslicus. Gkeen, Call. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 290. 

V. lucifugus. Le Conte, McMurtrie's Cuvicr, Vol. 1, p. 431. 

V. s^tbulalus. Cooper, Ann. Lye. Nat.Hist. N. Y. Vol.4, p. 01. 

Say^s Bat. RICHARDSON, Fiiuna Bor. Am. Vol. 1, p. 3. 

Characteristics. Small olive brown above ; greyish beneath. The fore-arm and tail sube- 
qu'al. Tragus awl-shapcd. 

Description. Head short and broad. Ears membranous, longer than broad, ovate; poste- 
rior margin broadly emarginate, somewhat narrowed at the tip. Within sparsely hairy ; more 
densely so at the base, and ascending sparsely along the anterior margins, which are plaited. 
Tragus linear, subulate, from 0'2-0'3 in length, ending in an obtuse tip. Interfemoral 
membrane broad ; naked, including the tip of the tail, In dried specimens this tip appears 
beyond the membrane. Fur remarkably soft and silky, and the membranes very thin and 
delicate. Dental formula : Incisors, | ; canines, | ; cheek teeth, if = 38. 

Color. In the neighborhood of the mouth and chin the hair is of a deep brown, approaching 
to black. Beneath, the fur is deep brownish black at the base, and light yellowish at the 


tips, forming, by its admixture with other hairs, a imiform yellowish grey. Above, the fur 
is also brownish black at base, and olive brown on the surface. 

Total length, 3-3. Forearm, I'O. 

Tibia, 0-7. Spread, 9-0. 

Tail, 1-0. 

The Little Brovra Bat appears to be subject to great variation in size and color. Usually 
they are scarcely one-half the preceding dimensions. I have received from Prof. Emmons, 
several specimens of this species, obtained in September from the northern districts. They 
are smaller, and of a dark hue approaching to black. The plaits on the anterior margins of 
the ear were not observed. The fur longer than in the specimen described above, which was 
the same employed by Mr. Cooper in his Monography. The ears appeared to be proportiona- 
bly longer ; but in the black color surrounding the mouth, and in the other characters, no 
difference could be observed. In one of the specimens, the dorsal surface was varied with 
black and grey ; and in another, dark brown intermixed with olive brown. . 

The Little Brown Bat can scarcely be confounded with any other species found in this State, 
unless it be with the Carolina bat. It is found in almost every part of the Union, and ranges 
as far as the fifty-third degree of north latitude. It has been observed in New-Hampshire, 
Arkansas at the eastern base of the Rocky mountains, on the Columbia river, in Georgia, 
Pennsylvania, Carolina, &c. In this State, I have obtained specimens from the northern and 
western districts. It is very numerous about Lake Oneida, and in the southern counties. 


r ■ Vespbrtilio noctivagans. " ' ~ ; 


Vespertilio noctivagans, Le Conte, McMurtrie's Cuvier, Vol. 1, p. 431. 
V. auduboni, Harlan, Ani. Jour. Geol. Vol. 1, p. 220, pi. 4. 

V. id. Id. Med. and Phys. Researches, p. 26, plate. 

V. noctivagans, Cooper, Aim. Lye. N. Y. Vol. 4, p. 59. 

Characteristics. Black, with silvery hairs above and beneath ; above, a whitish collar across 
the shoulders, extending upwards towards the ears. Tail beyond the 

Description. Body densely hairy, particularly in the region of the neck. Ears large, broad, 
and obtusely ovate ; the outer border with a fold, producing a broad and distinct emargina- 
tion above, and an abrupt one beneath. Tragus small, ovate, dilated beneath. Nostrils ter- 
minal, sub-bilobate. Interfemoral membrane including all but the two last joints of the tail ; 
densely hairy on the anterior part of its upper surface, becoming more sparse as it approaches 
the extremity of the tail ; beneath, it is nearly naked. The bony processes of the tibia, sup- 
porting the sides of the membrane, are an inch long. Brachial membrane naked, except near 
Fauna. 8 


its junction with the body. Feet hairy, with five subequal toes. Dental formula : Incisors, 
I ; canine, ? ; cheek teeth, ii = 34. Two of the upper incisors have bilobatc tips, with a 
free space between them. 

Color. Above of a uniform black or brownish black, the wing membrane being of a some- 
what lighter color. On the back there is a sort of collar, composed of white or silver-lipped 
hairs surrounding the neck, ascending towards the ears, and descending in some instances a 
short distance down the back. Traces of these white tipped hairs may he. observed towards 
the interfemoral membrane. (In one individual, sent to me by the Revd. Mr. Linsley, from 
Elmwood, Connecticut, the whole upper surface was varied with white hairs.) Beneath, 
these silvery hairs are distributed over the breast and abdomen, and more distinctly on the 
sides towards the brachial membrane. 

Total length, 3-6. Alar extent, lO-O-lfO. 

Length of tail, 1'4. 

The Silver-haired Bat is common on Long-Island, and the southern counties of the State. 
As far as it is yet known, Connecticut, and possibly Massachusetts, forms its extreme northern 
range. It has been observed in the Atlantic States as far south as Georgia. The female from 
which the foregoing description was taken, is much larger than the male. In common with 
the other species, it takes refuge during the day in hollow trees. Its history is yet incom- 


Vesfertilio carolinensis. 


Yespertihi carolinensis. Geoffroy, Ann. Mus. Vol. 8, \>. 193, pi. 47 and 48. 

V. id. Le Conte, McMurtrie's Cuvier, Vol. 1, p. 481. 

(JitroUna Bal. Cooper, Ann. Lye. N. Y. Vol. 4, p. 60. Emmons, Mass. Rep. 1840, p. 10. 

Characteristics. Large ; chesnut color above ; forearm longer than the tail. 

Description. Ears large, naked, higher than broad. Tips subacutely rounded, emarginate 
on the posterior edge. Tragus long and sublinear, resembling that of the little brown bat, 
but more obtuse at the tip. Interfemoral membrane naked above and beneath, and not in- 
cluding the extreme tijj of the tail. The bony processes supporting this membrane are very 
stout, and nearly an inch long. Dental formula : Incisors, | ; canines, | ; cheek teeth, 
y\ = 32. The two medial incisors notched or bifid towards the tip. 

Color. Jaws and snout dark browni. Body above bright glossy chesnut ; beneath of the 
same color, but of a ligliter shade, and in some lights appearing as if intermixed with grey. 
Base of the fur brown, with a few hairs of a greyish hue. 


Total lenglh, 3-8. Tibial process, 0-9. 

Length of tail, 1'5. Spread, 12" 0. 

Tibia, 0-8. 

This species can scarcely be confounded with an}' other species, unless it may be with the 
New- York bat ; from this, however, it is distinguishable by its greater size, and its distinct 
color. The bony processes supporting the interfemoral membrane are so stout and long, as 
to subtend that membrane, and alter its usual triangular form. 

The Carolina Bat is found along the Atlantic States, from Georgia to Connecticut. I have 
obtained it from Kings county, and Prof. Emmons has observed it at All)any, in the months 
of February and March. _ Its season of torpidity is probably of short duration. 


V. monticolc. (Bachman, Proceed. Ac. Sc. p. 92.) Fulvous; smaller than sub id at us ; ears shorter ; 

tragus less than half the lenglh of the ear. Virginia. 
V. virffinianus. (Id. ib. p. 93.) Sooty brown, above ash browTi ; a little larger than the preceding ; 

ears slightly longer and more acute ; incisors above simple ; interfemoral membrane naked ; a black 

spot at base of the wing. Virginia. 

Genus Molossus, Geoffrey. Head and muzzle very large ; canines varying from § to J ; incisors in 
the upper jaw bifid ; tragus small forward and outside ; interfemoral membrane enveloping about 
half the tajl ; nose simple. 
31. c]/noccphalus. (Cooper, Ann. Lye. Vol. 4, p. 65, figure.) Sooty brown; ears crirnped on their 

posterior half; lips thick and pendent ; incisors |. Southern States. 
M. fuliginosus. (Id. ib. p. 67, figure.) Sooty brown; incisors f; more than half the tail free. South- 
ern States. 

Genus Plecotus, Geoffroy. Incisors 4 ; two large fleshy appendages in the form of crests, between 
the eyes and nostrils ; ears enormously dilated, united at their bases and fringed on their internal 
margins ; tail projecting beyond the membrane. 
P. lecontii. (Id. ib. p. 72, figure.) Dusky; beneath towards the tail, white; tragus less than half the 

length of the ears. Southern States. 
P. townsendi. (Ac. Sc. Vol. 7.) Ferruginous, beneath reddish ash; tragus half the length of the ears; 
larger than the preceding. Columbia river. 

* Under this head, "no include short notices of species observed in the United States, or the adjacent regions, but which wc 
have not seen in this State. The authority for the species must, of course, rest with their respectire describers. 



No lateral membranes performing the functions of wings. Incisors elongated, or spoon- 
shaped. Molars varying in shape, and with conical points. Muzzle elongated, flexible, 
sometimes surrounded by filaments. Mammm ventral. Fur dense, occasionally with 
rio-id hairs or spines. Strong musky odor. Ears rarely prominent. Eyes exceedingly 
minute. Soles of the hinder feet applied to the ground. Nocturnal ; subterranean. Some 
species hibernate. Comprises the smallest of the quadrupeds. 

This family embraces numerous small animals, such as Moles, Shrews, Hedge Hogs, &c. 
all allied by similar habits. They are for the most part nocturnal, and form their habitations 
under ground. They all hibernate ; and one genus, Centenes, lUiger, from Madagascar, is said 
to pass tluce of the warmest months of the year in a state of torpidity. They are occasion- 
ally injurious to the gardener and farmer, by destroying roots and seeds, although their chief 
food is composed of earth worms, grubs and other noxious animals. In this State, we have 
observed species illustrative of four genera, namely, Condylura, Scalops, Sorex and Otisorex. 


Muzzle elongated, with radiating cartilages. Incisors six above and four below ; the two 
intermediate above, largest; spoon-shaped. Cheek teeth fourteen above, sixteen below. 
Ears none. Feet five-toed ; anterior claws formed for digging. 

Obs. This genus was established by Illiger for the reception of a singular little animal 
from North America, which had been hitherto described as a mole and as a shrew. The 
name, although founded on an accidental character, it has been found convenient to retain. 
We liave met with but one species in this State. 


Condylura cristata. " . . 

plate iv. fig. 1. — (state coixection.l 

Sorex crislalus. Linn. Ed. 12, p. 73. ' "• 

Long-tailed Mole. Penn. Syn. Quad. Fide Enleben. 
Talpa longicaudata. Erxleben, Syst. p. 118. 

RadiaudMole. Penn. Hist. Quad. Vol. 2, p. 232, (fig.) iJ, ,"■ 3 

Ta%ipe de Canada. Delafaille, Essai sur la Taupe. 
Long-tailed Mote. Penn. Aictic Zool. Vol. 1, p. 140. 
Condylure a longue queue. Desmarest, Mamm. p. 158. 
Condylura cristata. Harlan, Fauna Am. p. 36. 
C. longicaudata. Id. ib. p. 39. 

Tht Star-nose Mole. GODJUN, Am. Nat. History, Vol. 1, p. 100, (fig.) 


Condylura longiamdala. RiOHARDSON. F. B. A. p. 13. 

C. macrottra. Id. ib. p. 284, pi. 24. 

C longicavdata and macroura, Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 17. 

Characteristics. Color of a nearly uniform brownish black. Tail more than half the length 
of the head and body. Length 7. 

Descriptio)}. Body cylindrical throughout, without any very distinct neck. Fur exceed- 
ingly dense and fine. Head with a slender elongated muzzle, terminating in a vertical circu- 
lar disk, of from eighteen to twenty subequal cartilaginous fibres ; of these, the two superior 
and four inferior are shortest, and not in the same plane with the others. These fibres are 
0'2 long. The eyes- exceedingly minute, and not easily discovered ; but they may be found 
by examining the space above the angle of the mouth, where tlixee or four rigid subequal 
hairs are apparent. Whiskers 0"4 long, light-colored at the tips, and curved forwards. A 
large orifice in place of an external ear, not projecting above the skin. Fore feet short, with 
broad robust pahns ; on their upper surface a series of horny scales, somewhat analagous to 
those on the feet of birds ; on the edges of the palms, these scales are accompanied with rigid 
hairs. The interior of the palms with small circular scales. The fingers gradually increase 
in size to the fourth from the exterior ; the outer equals the second from the interior. The 
claws are flattened, obtusely pointed, and channelled beneath. Hind feet placed far back, 
and quite feeble ; the toes distinctly separate and scaly ; the claws long, sharp, compressed, 
and channelled beneath. Tail sub-cylindrical, sparsely hairy, permitting the scales to be seen 
beneath, and pencilled at its tip. In cabinet specimens, the tail often appears knotted 
tluroughout, and strangulated at its base. The jaws present the remarkable peculiarity of two 
spoon-shaped incisors above and four beneath. In the upper jaw, on each side of these, are 
two other incisors, the first of which is long, and resembles a canine tooth ; the other is 
separated by a small interval from the preceding, is very small, cenic and compressed. The 
incisors of the lower jav^r are spoon-shaped, approximated and subequal. The cheek teeth in 
both jaws vary much in form and size, the first of the lower jaw being long and pointed like 
a canine tooth. 

Color, throughout of a nearly uniform deep brownish black, varying somewhat according 
to the light in which it is viewed. The base of all the fur is of a deep slate color ; beneath 
of a lighter hue, and may be termed ashen or plumbeous. Feet whitish. I have noticed a 
specimen which was of a uniform soiled white. 

Total length, 7-5. Hind leg, I'l. 

Length of tail, 2*8. Breadth of palm, 0-4. 

Of fore feet, 0-7. Girth of body, 3-5. 

The name given by lUiger, which was founded on a figure which exhibited the knotted 
appearance of the tail in a desiccated specimen, and therefore not characteristic, it has been 
nevertheless found convenient to retain, as designating a remarkable generic type. Pennant, 
in his Synopsis of Quadrupeds, 1771, pubhshed a notice and figure of what he terms the 


long-tailed mole. Linneiis, in his 12th edition, 1776, pubhshed his description of the Sorex 
cristatus. The following year, Erxleben gave the name of longicaudata to Pennant's mole. 
We suppose that all these refer to the same species, Linneus having described from an 
injured specimen. In the third edition of the Synopsis, (possibly in the second, which we 
have not seen,) which was published under the title of the History of Quadrupeds, Peimant 
introduces the Linnean cristatus, with a deplorable figure, and adds his long-tailed mole 
with a figure scarcely superior to the other. From his account, it is apparent that he 
described an immature star-nose for the cristatus. In his Arctic Zoology, having in the 
interval received specimens from this country, he describes some additional particulars ; of 
these the most important diagnostic character attributed to the cristatus, is " toes of the hind 
feet closely connected ;" and yet Desmarest, Op. cit. who has given a' detailed description, 
expressly states " Pieds de derriere, etc." " Hind feet with the toes deeply divided, all the 
toes free ;" and this accords with our own observations. The account of the longicaudata by 
Desmarest, is evidently copied from Peimant by some culpably careless transcriber. 

From these observations, we would infer, 1st, that the cristatus of Limieus is the only 
species yet discovered in this country, and is identical with the long-tailed mole of Pennant ; 
2d, that the name of cristatus is entitled to priority ; 3d, that if the name longicaudata ever 
appears in the systems, it must be attributed to Erxleben, and not to Pennant. 

The C. macroura of Harlan, although adopted, described in detail and figured by Rich- 
ardson, we cannot, after a careful comparison of descriptions, acknowledge to be a distinct 
species. It is well known that the tail undergoes, at certain seasons, changes in shape and 
bulk ; and species founded on such characters should be received with gr-eat reserve. We 
have specimens of the common star-nose differing in no resj)ect from the macroura, except in 
its tail not being quite as much dilated as in the figure of Richardson. It is proper, however, 
to add, that we have not been enabled to examine the individual from which Dr. Harlan 
drew up his description ; and his account purports to have been derived from a cabinet spe- 

The Star-nose burrows in moist places near the surface, forming elevated ridges like the 
Shrew-mole, and chambers for rearing their young. These are most numerous near tlie 
borders of streams. When observed in confinement, they continually attempt to hide them- 
selves by digging, and the cartilaginous tendrils around their nose are in perpetual motion. 
Godman states that they feed readily on flesh, either raw or cooked, and exhibit no willing- 
ness to eat vegetable matter. 

The Star-nose is abundant throughout New- York, where it is occasionally called the 
Button-nose Mole. Its geographic limits are not yet established. It is, however, known at 
present to be found from Hudson's Bay to Virginia. 



Muzzle elo7igated and simple, flexible, cartilaginous. Eyes minute, and scarcely visible . 
No external ears, but simply a minute ajyerture. Feet short, five-toed ; the hand broad, 
with fingers joined together by the integuments to the last phalanx ; the claws long and 
flat. Hind feet slender, with delicate hooked nails. Teeth : Incisors, | - f ; cheek teeth, 
II - II = 34 - 46. A musky gland near the vent. 




Sorex nquaticus. Ll\. 12 ed. p. 74. 

Brown Mole. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 141. 

jS. aqiiatimts. Schreber, SaugthJere, pi. 158, (indifferent.) 

*V, carmdensis. Hjlrlax, Fauna Atnericana, p. 32. 

The Shrew-mole. GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 84, fig. 3. 

Scalops earmdensis. RicUAKDSoN; F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 9. 

Shrew-mole. Emmons, Massachusetts Report, 1840, p. 15. 

Characteristics. Fur glossy, and like velvet ; its most usual color silvery grey, brown. 
Length, 6-8 inches. — Var. a, bright tawny ; b, hoary. 

Description. Body cyandrical, without any distinctly apparent neck. Fur thick, velvety 
and lustrous. Head small, with its muzzle elongated to a point. The muzzle about a 
quarter of an inch long, and naked towards its extremity, «vhich is truncated. The nostrils 
are oblong, and placed just above its smooth truncated extremity. Eyes exceedingly minute, 
and completely concealed among the fur. No external ear ; the auditory openingj entirely 
concealed in the fur about three-quarters of an inch beliind the eye, and just admitting the 
point of a pin. Fore feet apparently naked, but in fact covered with short white hairs. The 
five phalanges are united at tlie base of the claws, which are large, white, flat, slightly 
curved, and brownish beneath near their bases. According to Godman, it is furnished exterior 
to the thumb with an additional bone articulated to the wrist, and a similar rudimentary one 
on the external edge of the hand. Hind feet slender, thinly covered by hair, and with small 
white compressed claws. Tail thickest in the middle, tapering to a point, and sparsely 
furnished with short haurs. The descriptions of the teeth, as given by various authors, vary 
not only in the names given to the different kinds of teeth, but likewise in the total number; 
the incisors, for instance, are confounded with the canines, these latter with the molars. 
Hence, when the second cheek tooth on each side is lost, the first, which is closely in contact 
with the incisor, is considered as a second incisor; and thus confusion arises from the 
inspection of a single head, or from immature or imperfect ones. Desmarest accordingly 
assigns thirty teeth as the total number ; F. Cuvier thirty-six, in which he is copied by God- 
man ; and Richardson, with a fully developed skull, enumerates forty-fovir. We have but 


once seen a skull with this number ; and tliis formula, which has been erroneously printed, 
has, by another error, been apphed to the star-nose. 

Color. The entire animal is covered with a beautiful glossy fur of silvery grey brown, 
somewhat lighter about the head, where it assumes a slight yellowish tinge ; but this is far 
from beinsc a constant character. Muzzle of a delicate flesh color. Tail and feet whitish. 
Varieties are not uncommon, of a uniform bright tawny or orange, and occasionally hoary. 

Total length, 6-0. 

Tail, 1-0. 

This little animal, from its appearance and habits, is commonly called a mole ; but from 
this it is widely diifcrent. It has the burrowing habits of the common mole of Europe, but 
does not exclusively occupy the vicinity of rivers and water courses, as its name would seem 
to imply. It may naturally prefer moist places ; for the earth is more easily excavated in 
such situations, and its favorite food, the earth worm {Lumhricus tcrrenus, Say,) is there 
found in the greatest abundance. Tliey have also been observed in the dry sandy pine 
barrens of New-Jersey, in search of the larvaj of ants. Their burrows are usually from one 
to tlu'ee inches from the surface, although occasionally much deeper. He is well known as 
the pest of gardeners, defacing the smooth walks, and injuring the appearance of the beds. 
It may well be doubted, however, whether the good he does in destroying grubs, worms, etc. 
does not more than compensate for the injury he is supposed to occasion to roots and germi- 
nating seeds. It is asserted that he has a great aversion to the castor-oil plant (Palma 
Cluristi), and that he will avoid gardens in which they grow. Our own experience would 
lead us to attach little importancetto this remedy. 

The Slurew-mole, for its size, is remarkably strong, and is capable of domestication. In 
eating, it employed its flexible snout to thrust food into its mouth, and frequently burrowed 
in the earth in order to eat its food undisturbed. An interesting account of the habits of the 
Slirew-mole is given by Dr. Godman,* to which we refer the reader. 

We take this opportunity to state, that the existence on this continent of the true mole of 
Europe, has frequently been asserted and denied. Dr. Harlan, in his Fauna, p. 43, has 
published from the manuscripts of Bartram, notes of an animal which may have reference to 
a true mole. Of this several varieties are noted, which, unless Bartram had the shrew-mole 
in view, would seem to indicate the existence of a very common species. It is to be regretted 
that Bartram's notes are silent respecting the dentition, which would have settled all doubts 
on the subject. Godman, Vol, 1, p. 106, discredits its existence ; and the translator of the 
American edition of Cuvier's Regne Animal, coincides with this opinion. One of the most 
recent writers on our Mariimalia, states, however, that there are several true moles in the 

* Rambles of a Naturalist, by J. D. GoDSUN, Philad. 1833. 


collection of the Zoological Society of London, undoubtedly from America, but the particular 
district was not known. 

The Shrew-mole has a wide geographical range, being found from Carolina to the fiftieth 
degree of north latitude, and from the Atlantic to the shores of the Pacific. 

GENUS SOREX. Linneus. 

Cutting teeth, | ; the iqiper curved and notched at the base. Head elongated ; snout pro- 
duced and moveable. Ears short, rounded, broader than lo7ig, concealed, occasionally not 
elevated above the skull. Feet short, with five nails ; phalanges small, separate, with 
feeble hooked nails. A series of glands, exhaling a strong odor, along the flanks. Cheek 
teeth, '^°^. 

Obs. This genus contains some of the smallest of our quadrupeds. The English translator 
of Cuvicr's Regne Animal, asserts that no genuine Shrews are to be found, except on the 
ancient continent ; an assertion which is contradicted by the fact that thirteen species have 
been described in North America, and when farther investigations are made, the number will 
probably be much increased. It will be found that the characters of the genus will require 
careful revision, and several small but distinct groups will be established. The habits of the 
animals of this genus are nocturnal, and tlicy burrow for the most part in the ground like tlie 
shrew-mole. All are said to be fond of the water, swimming with gi-cat ease, and diving 


Sorex dckayi. Bachjun, Acad. Sc. Vol. 7, p. 377, pi. 23, fig. i. 

Characteristics. Uniform dark bluish throughout. CJiin light brown. Feet reddish brown. 
Total length 5 to 6 inches. 

Description. Body subfusiform, tapering gradually to the snout, which is elongated, emar- 
ginate, and covered near the extremity with short hairs. Head small ; nostrils terminal. 
Eyes visible, and ' 6 distant from the snout. No projecting external car. Whiskers nu- 
merous, whitish; the longest were five-tenths of an inch long. The fore feet 0'5 long, 
sparsely hairy, with scaly phalanges ; the internal toe or thumb is articulated higli up, and 
is shorter than the external ; the second and fourth subequal ; the middle longest ; claws 
short, white, and feebly channelled beneath for two-thirds of their length from the tips. Base 
of the claws enlarged, and compressed laterally. Hind legs placed very far back, 0'6 long, 
and sparsely hairy ; the three middle claws subequal. Tail very slender, subquadrate, with 
Fauna. 3 


adpressed hairs, and slightly pencilled at the lip. Teeth white at the base, piceous at the 
tips. Dental formula : Incisors, | ; cheek teeth, if = 30. (Bachman, in his valuable mono- 
gi-aph cited above, attributes 18 cheek teeth to this species.) Above, the incisors are in- 
curved, pointed, cliannelled behind, with a broad base dilated posteriorly, and furnished with 
a distinct point ; the four succeeding cheek teeth on each side small, with their external points 
most elevated ; the first of the remaining jaw teeth largest of all, with four and occasionally 
five distinct points ; the remainder smaller, and irregularly pointed. In the lower jaw, the 
incisors are long, not contiguous, and projecting horizontally from the jaw ; they are curved, 
with pointed tips, and channelled within ; the external edges are sharp, with two and occa 
sionally thi-ee distinct emarginalions, the base laterally compressed. The first jaw tooth is a 
small pointed prism, lying immediately on the base of the incisor, and directed forwards ; the 
next is still over the root of the incisor, somewhat larger, with an oblique cutting edge ; the 
third is five-pointed, and largest of all ; the last is somewhat larger than the second. 

Color. Uniform glossy slate, or if we take a more definite standard, resembling the fur of 
the star-nose. Beneath, merely a shade lighter ; and in particular lights there is no per- 
ceptible difference in the color, the whole appearing hoary and lustrous. Chin and nose light 
brown. Feet flesh-colored. 

Length of head and body, . 4-8. To the end of the hairs,. .. 0-9. 
Length of tail, 0-8. Girth, 2-7. 

I am indebted to Mr, Bell for an opportunity of examining other specimens of this Shrew, 
from Rockland county. In one, the length of the head and body was 3"5 ; of tail, 0'7. In 
others, the dimensions were somewhat smaller. The specimens from which our description 
is taken, were obtained from Queens county, and were described and exhibited before the 
Lyceum of Natural History nearly fifteen years ago. I then gave it the name of concolor, 
but the description was never published. Dr. Bachman, who examined the same specimen, 
gave the present name, which, by the just and rigid rule of priority, must be preserved. It 
is nearly allied to brevicaudus, but is larger and more robust in its form. 

This Shrew is found in Albany county, and in the southern parts of the State. Its geo- 
graphical range along the Atlantic extends from Massachusetts to Virginia. 



Sorex brevicaudus. Say, Long's E.xped. Vol. 1, p. 164. 

Short-tailed Shrew. Bachman, Ac. Sc. Vol. 7, p. 381. HaklAn, Fauna, p. 29. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 

79, figure. Kiktland, Ohio Report, p. 175. Linsley, Am. Jour. Sc. Vol. 39, p. 388. Emmons, Mass. Rep. 1810, 

p. 1.3." 

Characteristics. Blackisli, plumbeous above. Nose livid brown. Tail nearly as long as 
hind feet. Total length, 4 • - 4 • 5. 


Description. Fur very long. Head large ; eyes very minute. Fore feet naked, the hind 
ones sparsely covered with hair. Nose emarginate. Auditory foramen large, with two dis- 
tinct half divisions, sparsely hairy. Nails nearly as long as the toes. Tail sparsely covered 
with hair. Teeth : Incisors, | ; cheek teeth, jf == 32. 

Color. Above, blackish lead when looked at from before, and silvery lead when viewed in 
an opposite direction : paler beneath. Teeth black ; nose livid brown ; feet white. 

Length of head and body, 3"2-3"5. 

Tail, 0-9-1-0. 

I have seen several specimens of this' animal from the opposite shore of New-Jersey, and 
have heard of its capture near Albany, but have never had the fortune to meet with it in this 
State. Mr. Linsley, in the work cited above, stales that he has taken it in Connecticut, 
answering exactly to the description given by Godman. 

Since the above was written, I have had an opportunity of examining a recent specimen 
from Queens county, which I refer to this species with the following description : 

Rostrum robust, broad. Whiskers numerous, long, radiating ; those along the margin of 
the mouth 0"5 long. A projecting fleshy septum just anterior to the two upper incisors, and 
extending nearly between them. Fur thick, moderately long, dark brown, very sparse around 
the region of the mouth and on the extremities, rather allowing the skin beneath to be seen ; 
rather more dense on the tail. Nose dark brown, bifid. Eyes with a small naked space 
around them, 0'55 distant from the nose. Auditory hole large, transverse, narrowed beneath, 
naked, with an oblique septum across the upper half, and a small lobe near the middle, about 
0" 5 posterior to the eye. Fore feet ■ 5 long ; three toes subequal, longest ; outer toe slightly 
longer than the inner. Tubercles on the palms six ; two in a line behind the inner toe, and 
two behind the outer ; the fifth between the base of the second and third toes, counting from 
the outside, and the sixth is placed at the base of the fourth toe. On the hind feet, the 
tubercles are similar in number and situation, but are larger and more distinct. When the 
animal lies on its back, with the hind legs extended, the claws reach beyond the middle of the 
tail. Tail cylindrical, very slightly tapering. 

Total length, 4-00. 

Of the tail, 0-75. 

Hind feet, 0-75. 



Sorex parvus. Say, Long's Exped. Vol. 1, p. 163. Linsley, Am. Jour. Vol. 39, p. 358. 
Small Slircw. GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 78, pi, fig. 2. 

Characteristics. Color brownish ash above, ash beneath. Tail one-third the lenglli of head 
and body. Total length 3 • - 3 • 5. 


Description. I have not had an opportunity of examining this species ; but as it has been 
found in Connecticut, it will in all probability be delected in this State. We subjoin the 
description given by Sa}', the original describer : " Body above brownish cinereous, beneath 
" cinereous ; head elongated ; eyes and ears concealed ; whiskers long, the longest nearly 
" attaining the back of the head ; nose naked, emarginate ; front teeth black, lateral ones 
" piccous ; feet whitish, five-toed ; nails prominent, acute, white ; tail short, sub-cylindric, of 
" moderate thickness, slightly thicker in the middle, whitish beneath. Length of head and 
"body, 2-4; of tail, 0-75." 

Richardson, p. 8, states that a specimen obtained at Behring's Straits, is probably to be 
referred to this species: " Dark brownish grey above, and grey beneath ; length of head and 
" body S-3, tail rO." 

Mr. Linsley, Op. sup. cit., describes his parvus with the following dimension : " Head and 
" body 2'0, tail 0'75." In a letter to me, January, 1842, he states, "though a trifle shorter 
" than your Otisorex platyrhinus, it was larger in bulk ; nevertheless it could not have weighed 
" over 50 - 60 grains, the otisorex weighing 47 grains. The piai'vus, I am satisfied, could 
" not have been the young of dekayi or brevicaudus, from his peculiar construction being 
" wholly unlike either of the other three species ; besides, I have both the old and young of 
" the latter." 




American Shrew. FoRSTER, Phil. Trans. Vol. 62, p. 3, 381. 

Sorex forsteri. Richardson, Zool. Jour. 1828. Gappar, Zool. Jour. Vol. 5, p. 201. 

Forster's Shrew-j}wuse, EiCHARDSON, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 6. 

Sorex forsteri. Bachman, Ac. Sciences, Vol. 7, p. 386, pi. 24, fig. 6. 

Characteristics. Small ; dark cinereous, tipped with brown ; beneath cinereous. Fur short. 
Ears broad and hairy. Tail nearly as long as the body. Length four 

Description. Body slender. Nose elongated and divided at the tip. Ears somewhat shorter 
than the fur, and concealed beneath it. Whiskers long, and white and black. Fur fine and 
short. Feet slender, with five white and slender toes. Tail foursided, with a slight pencil 
of hairs at the tip. Teeth piceous at the tips, as in the most of the species. Dental formula : 
Incisors, | ; cheek teeth, || = 32. The two medial incisors above, with a lobe behind ; 
beneath, the two medial incisors with two obtuse lobes. 

Color. Fur, for two-thirds of its length, dark ash above, and brown at the tips ; beneath, 
lighter ash. Feet flesh-colored, with short yellowish white hairs. Tail dark brown above, 
soiled white beneath. 


Total length, 4-0. Of tail, 1-5. 

Length of head and body, . 2" 5. Of head, O'S. 

This hardy little animal is found as far north as the sixty-seventh degree of latitude, and was 
first noticed by Forster in the work cited above, notwithstanding the English translator of 
Cuvier asserts " that no gemune Shrews are to be found except on the ancient continent." 
The tracks of this species are seen frequently during winter on the snow ; and this has been 
noticed by Richardson, even when the thermometer stood at 40 to 50 degrees below zero. 
They are found in all parts of the State, but we are as yet uncertain as to their southern 


Sorex carolinaisis. BiCHMAN, Ac. Nat. Sc. Vol. 7, p. 360, pi. 23, fig. 1. 

Characteristics. Uniform iron grey. Tail short, flat, nearly half the length of the head. 
Larger than the preceding. 

Description. Body rather robust. Snout long and slender, with a bilobate tip. No external 
ears, but simply an auditory aperture. Whiskers long, and in some lights whitish. Eyes 
exceedingly minute. Fore feet rather robust, covered sparsely with hairs ; hind feet more 
slender. Nails moderate, subequal. Tail flat, with a small thin pencil at tip. Dental for- 
mula : Incisors, |; cheekteeth, f|:=36; all piceous at their tips. 

Color. A bright lustrous iron-grey over the surface, the base being of a slate color. Nose 
and feet flesh-colored. Head and body 4'0. Head I'O. Tail 0*4. 

We have referred, with some doubts, specimens of a Shrew commonly found in this State, 
to this species. In this we have followed Bachman, until we had an opportunity of examin- 
ing a specimen in a living state. Such an occasion has not yet presented itself. In the only 
one which I had an opportunity to examine with any attention, the number of cheek teeth 
exceeded those assigned to this species by Bachman. According to this author, their nests 
are about a foot under ground, and composed of fibres of roots and gi'asses. They feed on 
worms, larvEe of insects, etc. This species requires farther examination. 


S. cinercus. (Bachman, Ac. Sc. Vol. 7, p. 373, pi. 23, fig. 3.) Dark iron-grey above, silver grey 

beneath; teeth 26; length 3*3. Carolina. 
S. richardsonii (Id. ib. p. 383, pi. 24, fig. 5.) S. parvus. (Richardson, Vol. 1, p. 8.) Rusty 

brown above, beneath cinereous ; total length 4 • 2 ; teeth 32. N. W. Territory. 


S. coopcri. (Id. ib. p. 388, pi. 24, fig. 7.) Dark bromi, beneath ash; nose long and pointed ; tail as 

long as the head and body; total length 3 -5. N. W. Territory. The smallest quadruped yet 

observed in the United States. 
S. fimbripcs. (Id. ib. p. 391, pi. 24, fig. 8.) Dark bromi above, fawni-colored beneath; feet broad, 

frino-ed at the edges ; tail a little shorter than the body ; total length 3 -9. Pennsylvania. 
S. palustris. (Richardson, F. B. A. p. 5.) Blackish hoary above, lighter beneath ; total length 6 "2. 

Arctic Regions. 


Ea7-s large and prominent, beyond the fur. Nose elongated. Eyes distinct. Tail quad- 
rangular. Teeth, 33. 

Obs. We liave ventured to propose this group, founded upon a northern and southern 
species, both exceedingly small. 


Otisorex platyrhinus. 

plate v. fig. 1. — (state collection.) 

Characteristics. Dark brown, paler beneath. Total length, four inches. 

Description. Head large. Nose much elongated, and flattened vertically ; bordered on 
each side above with long wliiskers, the tips of the most posterior extending beyond tlie ears ; 
a few shorter ones on the lower jaw. Extremity of the muzzle naked and blackish, bilobate 
at the tip ; nostrils small, lateral. Eyes small, but distinct and black, equi-distant between 
the tip of the nose and the margins of the ears. Ears very large, rounded and membrana- 
ceous, sub-angular on the upper margin, sparsely covered within and without with long hairs ; 
a transverse membranous septum across the auditory foramen, thinly covered with hair. Fore 
feet feeble, pentadactyle, O'S long. Toes separate, covered with short, shining, whitish 
hairs ; internal shortest ; the outer, second, fourth and third, counting from within, suc- 
cessively loirgcr. Nails moderate, slightly curved. Hind feet slender, O'S long, sparsely 
covered with light rufous hairs. Tail quadrangular, slightly constricted at its base, tapering 
to a point, covered thinly with short hairs, but not concealing the annulations. Fur over the 
whole body quite long and thick, varying from 0-2 to 0-4 inches. Tongue long, sublinear, 
papillose with transverse ruga;. Weight, 45 - 50 grains. Skull elongated. Teeth minute, 
tinged with piccous at their tips. Dental formula : Incisors, |; cheekteeth, 11 = 32. In 
the upper jaw the incisors are short, with broad and dilated bases : They have a double tip, 
the posterior being small, distant and tubercular; the five succeeding are small, the fifth 
being, however, so exceedingly minute as to escape observation, unless aided by the lens ; 
the sixth with a trifid tip, and a small dilated tubercular heel ; the seventh and eighth sub- 


equal, larger than the preceding, with the heel more robust ; the last very small, with a smgle 
colored tip on its anterior margin. Beneath, the incisors arc in a line with the lower jaw 
with two distant tubercles on the outer margin : The first cheek teeth small, and lying on the 
base of the incisor, with a single tip ; the second larger, with two small eminences ; the third 
largest of all, and with three very acute tips ; the two succeeding similar in shape, but 

Color. Dark cinereous, slightly tinged with dusky rufo'tis, particularly on the upper part of 
the muzzle and inferior portion of the neck ; beneath, ash grey. 

Length of head and body, . 2-5. Of head, 0-9. 

Length of tail, 1-6. Height of ear, 0-2. 

I am indebted to Mr. J. G. Bell, a zealous and acute observer, for the opportunity offered 
of making the preceding description. It was captured last summer at Tappan, Rockland 
county, in the cellar of a dwelling house, having taken up its abode between the stones of the 
foundation. It was exceedingly agile ; and when excited, emitted a shrill, twittering squeak. 
It ate greedily of fresh meat, but died in the course of a few days. Through the politeness 
of my friend, the Revd. J. H. Linsley of Elmwood Place, Connecticut, I had an opportunity 
of examining another specimen, which was obtained from a log in the forest in winter, near 
Stratford. According to Mr. Linsley, it weighed 47 grains ; and he adds, "it is the smallest 
" quadruped I have seen, and probably the least in America." 

It appears very closely allied to the Long-nosed Shrew of Bachman, but differs in its 
general color, its larger size, and its proportionally longer tail. Dr. Bachman inclines to the 
opinion that his species is aquatic in its habits. 


0. longirostris. (Bachman, Ac. So. Vol. 7, p. 370, pi. 23, fig. 2.) Chesnut; nose elongated; total 
length 2 '8. South Carolina. 


Six incisors in eacJi jaw. Teeth of three kinds. Feet with strong claws. Nose moveable, 
adapted for excavating. Walk on the soles of the feet. Carnivorous and frugivorous. 
Some species hyhernate. 

This group comprises the Bear, the Raccoon, Badger and Wolverine of this country. Tliey 
can scarcely be said to be prejudicial to man. 


GENUS URSUS. Linneus. 

Head large ; body and limbs large and powerful. Covered with long shaggy hair. Grinders 
varying in number, the four last large and tubercular. No glandular pouch under the tail, 
which is very short. Incisors, |; canines, |; inolars, if = 42. 


Ursus amebicanus. 

PLATE Vr. FIG. 1. 

Ursus americanns. Pallas, Spicileg. Zool. Vol. 14, p. 6. 

Blaci Bear. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 57. 

U. americniius, Haklan, Fauna, p. 51. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. I, p. 114. Plate. 

Ours giilaire. Geoffeoy, Mem. Mus. (Variety.) 

The Black Bear. Emmons, Mass. Rep. 1840, p. 20. 

Characteristics. Black or brownish black ; a soiled brown or yellowish patch on each side of 
the nose. Facial outline somewhat arched. Young with hair wavy or 

Descrijjtion. Ears high, oval, rounded at the tips, and distant. Soles of the feet short ; 
the hair projects slightly beyond the claws. Fur long, straight, shining and rather soft. 
Tail very short. Claws short, blunt, somewhat incurved. 

Color. Beside the general black color of the body, which is occasionally light brown, 
verging in some instances into soiled yellowish, the sides of the nose are of a fawn color ; 
occasionally a white dash on the forehead or throat, and sometimes a small spot of the same 
is seen above the eyes. Length 4 to 6 feet. 

The Bear, once so numerous in this State, is now chiefly to be found in the mountainous 
and thinly inhabited districts, where they breed. The female, after a gestation of about one 
hundred da3's, brings forth two cubs. It does not eat animal food from choice, and never 
unless pressed by hunger : it prefers berries and fruits. Li the forests in the northern parts 
of the State, a tornado will sometimes sweep through a region, prostrating the pines to an 
extent of many miles. In the course of a few jrears, the wild cherry tree springs up in great 
numbers on this tract ; and in the fruit season, it becomes the resort of numerous bears.* It 
also feeds upon the whortleberry, grapes, honey, persimons (Diospyros), and roots of various 
kinds. Its fondness for sweet things is evident whenever it enters an apple orchard, invari- 
ably selecting the sweetest kinds. It will also devour eggs, insects, and small quadrupeds 
and birds ; but when it has abundance of its favorite vegetable food, will pass tlie carcase of 

* Tlie effects of such a tornado \vc observed in Hamilton county, in the summer of 1840, near Eighth lake. The course of 
the wbtflfall, as it is popularly called, was from west to east. It extended thirty miles, with a breadth varying from half a mile 
to two miles. This occurred fifteen years ago. It has been subsequently burned over, and abounds in poplar, white bircli, wild 
cherries, wild raspberries, etc., whicii attracted to this district great numl)ers of deer and numerous bears. 


a deer without touching it. The Bear is an imitative animal ; and hence, when it meets a 
man, it will rise on its hind legs, but is apparently soon satisfied with the comparison, and 
endeavors to make its escape. It is a great traveller, and when pursued by tracking, has 
been known to perform long journeys. It never makes immediately for its retreat ; but 
approaches it in a circling manner. A bear was started near Sclu-ooia some years since, and 
after a chase of eighteen days, was finally killed. Although seldom seen during the chase, 
yet he appeared to be fully aware that he was an object of pursuit, and the worn and lacerated 
condition of his feet testified to his exertions to escape. They are numerous along the 
borders of the Saranac, and in the mountainous regions of Rockland and Greene. Occasion- 
ally they invade the enclosures of the farmer, in search of potatoes and Indian corn. Their 
depredations are, however, speedily checked ; for they arc timid, and will never attack a 
man, unless previously wounded, or in defence of their young. ' Some of the hunters imagine 
that there are two varieties of the common Black Bear, viz. the short-Icggcd and the long- 
legged ; but others inform me that the difference is owing entirely to the fact that some are 
fatter and more robust, which produces an apparent difierence in the length of their legs. 
The Yellow Bear of Carolina, and the Cinnamon Bear of the northern regions, are varieties 
of this species. In this- State, they retire with the first fall of snow, to caverns, or to the 
hollow of some decayed tree, or beneath a prostrate tree, during the winter, and pass three 
or four months in a state of torpidity. In more southern latitudes, the hybernation is of 
shorter duration, and ceases to occur when the mildness of the winter enables them to procure 
food. They are fat when they enter their winter quarters, and much emaciated when they 
leave it in the spring. Indeed this condition of fatness is so necessary, that when the supply 
of food is cut off, instead of retiring to winter quarters, they migrate southwardly to warmer 
regions. Hence great numbers are occasionally known to enter our territory from the north, 
composed entirely of lean males, or females not with young. 

The flesh of the bear is savory, but rather luscious, and 'tastes not unlike pork. It was 
once so common an article of food in New-York, as to have given the name of Bear market 
to one of the principal markets in the city. The female goes with young seven months, 
bringing forth two young in February or March. The oil sells for one dollar per pound, and 
the skin from four to twelve dollars, according to its value. 

The engraving illustrative of this species was taken from a very large individual shot on 
the Kaaterskill mountains, Greene county, during the winter of 1839. It measured six feet 
and a half from the nose to the tip of the tail ; and at the foreshoulders, measured three feet 
two inches from the ground. 


U. ferox. (Say, Long's Exped. 2] 241. Richardson, pi. 1 and 2.) Larger than the preceding 
color white, browni and black intermixed ; facial outline nearly straight. Norlhcrn and western 

U. maritimtis. (Godmax, pi. fig.) White; facial outline somewhat convex ; cars small; soles of the 
feet very long. . Arctic Sea. 
Fauna. 4 



Head short, triangular, with a fox-like appearance. Muzzle tapering, and projecting 
considerably hey ond the mouth. Ears small. Tail long, bushy, not prehensile. Stand 
on the heel of the hinder leg, but ivalk on the toes. Mamma six, ventral. Feet five-toed, 
with large and strong nails. A glandular pouch on each side of the vent. Incisors, f ; 
canines, |; molars, if = 40. Nocturnal. 


Procyon lotor. 
plate vi. fig. 2. — (state collection.) 

LiNNEUS, Beskrifnung pa ett americanst djur. Vetensk. Acad. Handl. 1717, p. 277. 
Ursus americanus, Cauda elongata. Lin. Analect. Transalp. Tom. 2, p. 35. 
Ursus lotor. LiN. ed. 12, p. 35. Roloff, Description d'un Quadrupede d'Ameritiue. Hist, de Acad, de Berlin, 1756, 

p. 149. ScKDLTZE, Bemerkungen uber den waschliaren. Hamburg, 1787. 
Raccoon Bear. PENN.4NT, Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 69. 

Procyon lolor. H.4RLAN, Fauna, p. 54. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 163, (figure.) 
P. id. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 36. 

The Raccoon. Em.mons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 25. 

Characteristics. Brownish ; a broad black patch across the eyes. Tail bushy, and ringed 
with black and grey. Total length 2 to 3 feet. 

Description. Body rather low on the legs, and covered with long bushy hair. Ears erect, 
with rounded tips. Head rounded, terminating in a pointed muz7le. Feet with five toes, 
furnished with sharp curved claws. Soles with five stout tubercles. Pupils round. Female 
larger than the male. Hair on the legs and feet short. 

Color varies somewhat with age, sex and season. In the very fine specimen in the State 
Collection, the color above is a dark grey mixed with black. Ears dingy white ; muzzle 
black ; the chin and space above the snout reddish white. The broad black band across the 
eyes unites under the throat ; the upper edge of this band is margined with white over the 
cheeks and eyes. Hair beneath long and hoary. Tail annulated, with twelve alternate 
bands of black and light, fulvous ; tip black. In the female, the black markings on the body 
and tail are of a deeper hue. Total length 36 inches ; tail, 10. 

This is a well known animal, found in every part of the State. It has been quaintly de- 
scribed as having the limbs of a bear, the body of a badger, the head of a fox, the nose of a 
dog, the tail of a cat, and sharp claws by which it climbs trees like a monkey. The Raccoon 
is a restless, mischievous animal, feeding on wild and domesticated fowls, frogs, lizards, fish 
and insects. From its fondness for water, it is most usually found in low wooded swamps, 
making its lair in some hollow tree, and producing four to six cubs at a litter about the begin- 
ning of April. It is susceptible of domestication. Its fur is an article of considerable value 


in commerce, being used principally in the fabrication of hats. Its flesh, when young and 
tender, is savory, tasting not unlike pig ; but in adults, is rank and disagreeable. Occa- 
sionally the raccoon commits great ravages among Indian corn, while it is in a milky state ; 
and this, together with his occasional descents upon the barn-yard, scarcely compensates the 
farmer for his zeal in chgging up and devouring grubs or larvae of injurious insects. 

The Raccoon is found all over North America. It has been seen as high as 60° north on 
the Pacific Ocean. Its southern limits are not so well defined, although it is said to exist as 
far as Paraguay ; it may possibly be confounded with another species, which, however, has 
not yet been clearly identified. 


Genus Meles, Brisso/i. Body robust, low on the legs; ears short and wide; anterior nails very large. 
Tail short, with a glandular pouch beneath. Incisors, | ; canines, | ; molars, i| = 38. Bur- 
rowing ; nocturnal. 
M. labradoria. American badger. (Godman, 1, 176, fig. Rich. pi. 2.) Hoary; a white stripe 
down the forehead ; a greyish brown or blackish patch includes the eye, and extends to the tip of 
the nose. Tail 3. Northern regions. Plains of Missouri. 
Obs. In some parts of this State, the woodchuck {Arctoinys monax) is called Badger ; but I am not 
aware that the true Badger exists here. 

GENUS GULO. Storr, Cuvier. 

Body long, and low on the legs. Soles of the hind feet capable of being applied wholly or in 
■part upon the ground. Tail bushy. A simple fold beneath the tail, instead of a glandular 
pouch. Feet five-toed, with strong hooked claios. 36 - 38 teeth. Carniverous. Noc- 

Obs. This genus is arranged by some naturalists among the MustelidcE, to which indeed it 
bears by its dental system a close relation. The ensemble of its characters would seem, 
however, to place it in its present family, making an easy transition to the next. In the 
latest systematic writers, four species are noted, most of them peculiar to America. The two 
from North America appear to diff"er only in color, and are considered by many as mere 




Carcajou. La Hontan, Voyage, Vol. 1, p. 81. 

Ursus luscus. LiN. 12 ed. p. 71. 

Woherme. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. C6- Lavvson, Carolina, figure. 

Gvlo arcticus. Harlan, Fauna, p. 60. 

G. luscus. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 185, plate. 

Wolverene. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 41. 


Characteristics. Color dark brown, passing into black, with a lighter broad band on the flanks 
and thighs. Tail with long pendulous hairs. 

Descrijyiion. Body stout and compactly made, with an arched back, and little elevated from 
the ground. Head small, broad, rounded, suddenly diminishing to the nose. Ears small, 
rounded, and nearly concealed among the fur. Eyes small. Fur loose and shaggy. The 
tail, which scarcely exceeds si.x inches, is very bushy, and covered on its sides and extremity 
with long pendulous hairs. Legs short and thick ; toes distinct, and armed with five hooked 
claws. Soles of the fore feet with five, and hind feet with foiir tubercles. 

Color.. There is a great variety in the general color of this animal, varying from light cream 
to a deep blackish brown. Its usual color is as follows : Blackish brown, becoming deeper 
on the sides of the face, on the back and extremities ; more or less white on the chin and 
between the fore legs. Hair on the tail, deep black ; on the legs, brownish black. A pale 
crescent-shaped band over the head, between the ears and the eyes. A broad band of light 
chesnut along the flanks, becoming dilated on the thigh, and ascending over the rump, where 
it meets with a similar band from the other side. The young have a uniform downjr cream- 
colored fur. Head and body, 24" 0; tail (vertebrEe), 6'0; including fur, 9'0. 

Although we have not met with this animal, yet hunters who have killed them repeatedly, 
and knew them well, have assured us that they are still found in the districts north of Raquet 
lake. It is, however, every where a rare species. Prof. Emmons states that they still exist 
in the Hoosac mountains, Massachusetts. 

The Wolverene is a very troublesome and destructive animal. Like the Fisher, it has 
been known to follow " a sable line" of 40 - 50 miles, destroying every trap for the purpose 
of obtaining the bait. Much of the fictitious history of this animal is founded on the circum- 
stance that the name of Wolverene is also applied to die Felts rufa, or Bay Lynx ; and in this 
we are to account for its habit of climbing trees, etc. attributed to it by Laws'on, Buffon and 
others. It destroys great numbers of the smaller quadrupeds. The celebrated half breed, 
John Hunter, informed me that it was called gwing-gwah-gay by the Indians of his tribe, 
which he interpreted " a tough thing," eras he afterwards explained it, " a hard character," 
in allusion to its mischievous disposition. He assured me that he had known it to be domes- 
ticated, and employed by the Indians to catch beaver. 

The Wolverene was formerly found as far south as Carolina, but its southern limits at pre- 
sent do not extend south of tlie forty-second degree. To the north, it extends to the polar 
seas, as high as the seventy-fifth degree of north latitude. 



Comprises small carnivorous animals, with long vermiform bodies on short feet. Neck long. 
Ears short and rounded. Tail long, rarely bushy. Digitigrade, or walking on their 
toes. All diffusing a strong odor, which in some genera forms a defensive weapon. In- 
cisors, f ; canines, | ; cheek teeth, ^ = 34 - 36. 

Obs. This family embraces the animals formerly included in the old linnean genus Mustela, 
and familiarly known in this country under the names of Mink, Skunk, Weasel and Marten. 
They have been distributed by Cuvier into four, and by later writers into fifteen genera, in- 
cluding nearly sixty species distributed over the globe. In this State, we have the types of 
three genera : Mephitis, Mustela and Putorius. 


Head small, with a blunt muzzle and slight arched facial outline. Fur coarse and shaggy. 
Tail bushy. Fore feet robust, loith five long stout claws. Incisors,^; canines, %; cheek 
teeth, /if = 32. Nocturnal. Burrowing. Peculiar to America. 

Obs. Were we to place reliance upon figures and descriptions, we might enumerate nineteen 
species ; all of which arc, however, considered mere varieties. 


Mephitis Americana. 
plate xii. fig. 1. — (state collection.) 

Viverra mephitis. LiN. Gmel. 

Striated Weasel, and Skunk. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 83 and 85. 

Stifling Weasel. LosKIEL, p. 85, 

Mustela americana, Desiukest, Maram. p. 186. 

Mephitis ii. Sabine, Frank. Jour. p. 653. Harlan, Fauna, p. 70. 

M. id. GODMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 213, figure. 

M. id. mr. hudsonica. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol 1, p. 55. 

Characteristics. Black or brownish black, with an irregular whitish patch or stripe over the 
shoulders. Many varieties in its white marks. Length about two feet. 

Description. Head small, when compared to the mass of the body ; arched on its facial out- 
line. Snout obtuse. Eyes small and black. Ears small, broad and rounded. Feet broad^ 
and covered with hair, concealing the strong and white claws ; those on the anterior extremi- 
ties very robust and curved. Canines strong and conical. The great carnivorous molar above, 
with a large internal tubercle. Trunk of the tail of a moderate length, about half the length- 
of the head and body. 


Color. The variations in its markings are so great, that it is almost impossible to construct 
a specific phrase, applicable to the greatest number of these varieties. The specimen in the 
State Collection, which is remarkable for its size and the beauty of its fur, presents the fol- 
lowing appearances : Deep jet black over the whole body and tail, with the exceptions to be 
noted. A narrow longitudinal white streak, rather more than an inch in length, commences 
between the eyes, and extends to the nape. Somewhat posterior to this, is a broad patch of a 
light cream-color, commencing abruptly, dilated on the sides of the neck, then narrowing on 
the shoulders where it bifurcates. It terminates dilated on the side, where the base of the 
hair appears tinted with flesh-color ; a few straggling white hairs oh the rump. Tail with 
white hairs, but black throughout so much of outer ends as to assume that color, except where 
they are entirely white and quite long. Total length, 30-0; tail (vertebra;), 9-0; tips of 
hairs, 13-0. 

This well known and thoroughly detested animal is supposed to exist throughout the whole 
American continent, from the frozen regions of the north, to Paraguay and Chili. The pecu- 
liar organs of defence with which it is provided, render it highly interesting. These fetid and 
detestable discharges do not proceed from the bladder ; nor is it distributed over its enemies 
by its tail, as is generally supposed. It proceeds from two anal glands, which open by ducts 
into the rectum, and is ejected by muscular exertion at the will of the animal ; the tail being 
elevated at the same time, in order to prevent its coming into contact with this yellow fluid, 
which must be as disgusting to itself as it is deadly nauseating to its enemies. It is stated 
by Godman, that this fetid discharge was perceived at night to be luminous. Fortunately for 
the comfort of his neiglibors, he appears to be a peaceful animal, and never emits his potent 
odors unless attacked by an animal larger than himself. Some idea of the subtle and far per- 
vading influence of this fetor may be conceived from a fact by Dr. Wiley of Block Island, in 
the Medical Repository : He has distinctly perceived the smell of a skunk, although the 
nearest land was twenty miles distant. It is nocturnal in its habits, and is often seen sporting 
about on a bright moonlight night. He is a good burrower, and for this purpose his fore feet 
and claws are well adapted. I have seen some of their burrows running horizontally twelve 
to fifteen feet under ground, at about two feet below the surface. The flesh, when carefully 
prepared, is very sweet ; but from the general repugnance to its unsavory habits, it is only 
eaten by the curious or tlie indigent. A person in my neighborhood took nineteen from one 
burrow, and salted them for family use during the winter. It produces from six to ten at a 
litter. It feeds on birds and their eggs, on frogs, and on field mice and other small quadrupeds. 
He is regarded as a fit subject for extermination, on account of the havoc which he causes 
in the poultry-house and barn-yard. His fur is coarse, and of no value as an article of com- 



Head stnall, oval. Fur exceedingly fine. Tail usually long and cylindrical. One addi- 
tional molar above and below. 




Miistela canadensis. I-IN. Gmel. Vol. \, p. 95. 

The Fisher. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 82. 

M. pennanti. Erxleben, System, p. 470. 

M. canadensis. Harlan, Faun. Am. p. 65. 

Pennant's Marten. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. VoL 1, p. 203. 

Pekan or Fisher. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. ], p. 52. 

Pekan or Fisher Weasel. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1838, p. 24 ; of 1840, p. 38. 

Black Cat of the New-York hunters. 

Characteristics. Greyish over the liead and anterior parts of the body ; dark brown or black 
behind. Tail bushy. The largest of the genus. 

Description. Form of the body typical. Head broad; nose acute. Ears about tliree inches 
from the nose, broad, rounded and distant. Canines long, more particularly those of the upper 
jaw ; penultimate molar with a process on its inner anterior margin. Fore feet shorter than 
hind feet, robust, and covered with long hair. Soles of the feet thickly covered with short 
hair. Toes connected partially by a short hairy web ; the nails sharp, strong, and incurved. 
Tail moderately long, bushy and acuminated at the tip, the hairs reaching two and a half to 
three inches beyond the vertebra;. Fur long, fine and lustrous, increasing in length on the 
posterior parts of the animal ; it consists of two kinds, a short brown down, and longer and 
more rigid hairs ; longer and blacker in winter than in summer. 

Color. The markings are somewhat irregular ; and there is a variety which, with the ex- 
ception of the nose and feet, is entirely white. The general and more usual distribution of 
the colors is noted in the specific phrase. The long rigid hairs are brown at the base, and 
greyish towards the tips. This greyish color predominates so much on the head, neck, 
shoulders, upper and anterior portions of the body, as to give to those parts a hoary appearance. 
Towards the posterior part of the body, and including the tail, the color deepens into a dark 
brown or jet black. Throat, legs and belly blackish brown, with occasionally a small white 
spot on its throat, and a trace of another on the belly, sometimes unspotted beneath. Chin and 
nose brown. Ears margined with yellowish white. It is said to be lighter in winter than in 
summer. Length of head and body, 24" ; of tail (vertebroe), 11 '0. 

The Fisher or Black Cat of our hunters, is a large and powerful animal, standing nearly a 
foot from the ground. It was formerly very abundant in this State, but is now confined to 


thinly settled northern districts. Twenty years ago, they were numerous in the western part 
of the State, where they are now scarcely ever seen. It is a nocturnal species, and lives 
chiefly on the smaller quadrupeds, but also devours frogsi, fish and serpents. It climbs trees 
with great ease, and takes up its abode in the trunk of a tree. It appears to prefer marshy 
wooded swamps, and the vicinity of lakes and water courses. 

The name of Fisher, which has beencensured as not applicable to this animal, is, however, 
that by which it is best known, and which it has received from its characteristic habits. 
Richardson states that it feeds on the hoards of frozen fish stored up by the residents. We 
are informed by a person who resided many years near Lake Oneida, where tlie Fisher was 
then common, that the name was derived from its singular fondness for the fish used to bait 
traps. The hunters were in the practice of soaking their fish over night, and it was frequently 
carried off by the fisher, whose well known tracks were seen in the vicinity. In Hamilton 
county it is still numerous and troublesome. The hunters there have assured me that they 
have known a fisher to destroy twelve out of thirteen traps in a line of not more than fourteen 
miles in length. It brings forth two young annually. The hunting season for the fisher in 
the northern part of the State, commences about the tenth of October, and lasts to the middle 
of May, when the furs are not so valuable. The ordinary price is $1'50 per skin; but it is 
not so fine, nor so highly valued as that of the sable. Its geographical range is included 
between the fortieth and seventieth parallels of latitude, extending across the continent. 




Muslela marles. Lin. G.mel. Vol. 1, p. 95. 

Fine Marten. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. J, p. 70. Harlan, Fauna, p. 67. Godma.n, Vol. 1, p. 200, figure. Richardson, 

F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 51, (summer dress.) 
M. zibbeUvm? Godman, Vol. 1, p. 308. 
M. huro. Feed. Cutier. 

Pine Mnrten. EsiHONS, Mass. Report, 1838, p. 25. ' 
The Sable of the New-York hunters. 

Characteristics. Varying in color from tawny to brown or black. Head constantly lighter. 
Length 20 - 30 inches. 

Description. Head long and pointed. Stands rather high on its feet. Ears broad, short, 
and somewhat acuminated. Eyes small and black. Tail bushy, and enlarged towards the 
end. Toes with long, slender and compressed nails, nearly concealed by the hair. 

Color, various, according to age, season and latitude. The following notes are derived 
from four specimens in the Cabinet of the Lyceum : 

No. 1 is larger and higher colored than the others, measuring thirty inches in its total 
length. Head, sides of the neck and upper part of the throat white. Chin with a slight 


tinge of brown. Ears margined with white. Reddish brown behind the ears. The inside 
of the legs, inferior and posterior parts of the feet, and the palms, dark brown. Tail ten 
and a half inches long, the tip of the hairs extending four inches beyond the vertebrse ; 
dark brown at tlie tip, interrai.xed with a few white hairs ; remainder of the body and tail 
yellowish white, becoming deeper on the posterior parts of the body. Throughout pale 
yellow. Claws white. The plate represents this specimen. 

No. 2 is smaller, being only twenty-two inches in length. Head, chin and ears entirely 
white. Feet at the base with an obsolete circle of dusky brown. A dusky indistinct line 
along the dorsal ridge. Tail dusky for two-thirds of its length from the tip. General color 
bright orange, more vivid on the flanks and abdomen. Palms light-colored. 

No. 3 and 4 resemble each other in the distribution of their colors, but are smaller than the 
preceding. Head greyish white ; brownish behind the ears. General color fulvous, inter- 
mixed on the back and abdomen with brown, giving a dark hue to the animal. Legs, feet 
and tail blackish brown, the latter increasing in intensity towards its tip. 

The Sable is a very pretty and active little animal, inhabiting the elevated and wooded 
districts in the northern parts of the State. It lives entirely in trees, and brings forth six to 
eight at a litter. It is a nocturnal animal, and excessively carnivorous ; feeding on mice, 
birds' eggs, squirrels, etc. The females are said to be smaller than the males. It has been 
tamed ; but from its petulant character, is never docile. The fur is exceedingly beautiful, 
and highly esteemed. The hunters assure me, that as you proceed north, the fur becomes 
darker and more valuable, but this seems rather a peculiarity in certain districts. Those 
obtained in our State, are more usually of the color noted in tiie figure, and sell for about 
$l-25 apiece. 

The Sable is exceedingly active, and destroys great quantities of squirrels, tlie red squirrel 
only occasionally escaping by its superior agility. It is so prohfic, and finds the means 
of living with so much ease, that it would long since have multiplied to a great extent, were 
it not hunted so perseveringly for its fur. The hunting season for the sable in this State 
begins about the tenth of October, and ends in the middle of April. The hunters assert, that 
in the beech-nut season, when they are very abundant, the sable will not touch bait of 
any kind, believing that at that time it feeds upon these nuts. It is probable, however, that 
the abundance of nuts attracts great numbers of the smaller quadrupeds, who are thus offered 
an easy prey to the sable. 

A line of traps for these animals, technically called " a sable line," sometimes extends 
sixty or seventy miles, containing six to ten traps in a mile, according to the nature of the 
ground. The construction of these traps is exceedingly simple. The hunter cuts oiT long 
chips from the nearest tree, and drives them into the ground, forming three sides of a square 
about six inches across ; the top is covered with spruce boughs. The bait, whicli is either a 
bit of venison, mice, red squirrel, or any other small animal, is put on the end of a round 
stick and placed within. the trap, resting on a round stick lying on the ground across the open 
end ; on this rests a short upright stick, supporting a heavy log or small tree. Any distur- 
bance of the bait causes the log to fall and crush the animal. These traps are visited once a 
Fauna. 5 


fortnight, and oftener if practicable. The fisher and wolvreno, as we have before remarked, 
will often destroy these traps, by breaking into them behind, and eat up not only the bait, 
but the captured animal. 

I am inclined to believe that the American Sable is very distinct from the Pine Marten of 
Europe, with which it is usually arranged ; but as I have had no means of making a direct 
comparison, I shall adhere to the ancient name. Its geographical range extends from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, and it is found in all the dry wooded districts between the fortieth and 
sixty-eighth parallels of north latitude. 




Musteta (Pulorius) vulgnris. Richakdson, (excl. syn.') Fauna Bor. Am. \'ol. 1, p. 45. 
P. vulgaris. EjiMONs, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 44. 

Cliaracteri sties. Color same as that of P. novehoracensis in its summer coat, but smaller ; 
unchanging. Tail one-fourth of the whole length. Length 12-13 inches. 

Description. Body vermiform ; head somewhat obtusely pointed. Ears broad, wide, and 
slightly pointed above. Eyes black and prominent. A series of dark brownish whiskers along 
the upper lips, and another, consisting of five or six, parallel with it above ; a small patch 
of two or three above the eye. Fore feet short, and rather robust; claws acute, curved, and 
almost entirely concealed by the long hairs. Tail short, cylindrical, even throughout, not 
bushy ; the tips of hairs extending beyond the vertebrae. Teeth of the typical number ; above, 
the two outer incisors largest, the intermediate ones equal ; beneath, they are crowded, with 
the two external largest, the two intermediate small, and the remaining two behind and 
somewhat between the external and medial incisors. In the upper jaw, the second jaw tooth 
is small and distant, the posterior with a large spur directed inwards. 

Color. Uniform throughout the year ; more glossy, but paler than in the New- York weasel. 
Upper part of the head, neck and body, of a light reddish brown ; the same color prevails on 
the outer and anterior part of the fore legs, the whole of the head, legs, rump and tail. The 
chin, a small spot above the angle of the jaw extending to the borders of the upper lip, 
throat, belly and breast, white. On the throat this color extends to the sides of the neck, 
appears on the posterior parts of the fore legs, becomes dilated on the anterior part of the 
abdomen, then irregularly contracted, and subsequently throwing off an acute-angled patch 
of the same color on the upper and external part of the thighs. Tail a shade darker at the tip. 

Total length, 10-8. Tail (vertebra), I'S. 

Head and neck, 2' 8. Ditto, including fur, 2'1. 

Body, 6-0. 


We suppose this to be the Common Weasel of Richardson, which he states to be identical 
with the Common Weasel of Europe. It is, however, genericaUy diiTerent, and we have 
been consequently compelled to suggest a distinctive name. Godman, Vol. 1, p. 193, asserts, 
on the authority of Charles Bonaparte, that the Ermine, in its summer coat, has been usually 
considered by naturalists as the M. vulgaris of Europe. This is a mistake : it is the present 
species which has thus been confounded. 

It is by no means a rare animal, but is difficult to capture, and is usually known under the 
name of the Little Weasel. It feeds on mice, insects, young birds, eggs, etc., and possesses 
all the voracity characteristic of the tribe. 



Mustela fusca., Proceed. Ac. Sc. 1841, p. 94. 

Characteristics. Brown above ; pure white beneath. Tail one-fifth of the whole length. 
Feet with long hairs. Length, 12" 0. 

Description. Form as in the preceding, but more robust. Feet remarkably robust, and 
densely covered with long hairs, which almost conceal the nails. Ears broad and rounded. 
Tail with no enlarged tuft at the end. 

Color. Dark fawn above, becoming deeper on the posterior part of the back ; the tip of 
the tail still darker. Beneath, pure white, from the chin extending around the mouth, throat, 
belly, and interior of the extremities. 

Head and body, 9"1. 

Tail (vertebra), 2-8. 

Tail, including hairs, 3" 2. 

In the State Collection is a specimen of this animal, upon which I made, in 1840, two years 
since, the following note : " Taken in May, in Suffolk county ; diflfers from pusilla in its legs, 
" which are very robust, and covered with long hair. It resembles noveboracensis in its 
" markings ; allied to vulgaris of Richardson, (excl. syn.), but his species has slender feet. 
" We wait for more extended opportunities of comparison, before considering it a new 
" species." 

Recently, Bachman, (Op. cit.) has gi\en this a careful examination, and distinguished it 
as a new species. We adopt his name. 


M..frenata, Lichtenstein. (Bachm. Proc. Ac. Sc.) Light fawn above, yellowish beneath; ears and 
nose dark brown ; a white spot on the head, and a band above the eyes. Whole length 18 inches; 
tail 6 • 5. California. 



Form and habits of the preceding. Head siih-glohose. Muzzle short and blunt. Body 
highly vermiform. Neck very long. Tail long, cylindrical, not bushy. Cheek teeth y°j. 
All ivith a musky odor. Nocturnal. 



PLATE XII. FIG. 2, Winter dress. — PLATE XIV. FIG. 2, Summer dress. —(STATE COLLECTION.) 

Sioat Weasel. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 75. 

Muslela erminea. Harlan, Fauna Am. p. 62. 

The Ermine Weasel. Godmak, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 193, fig. 1, winter dress. Id. ib. Vol. 1, p. 693, pi. fig. 2, 

summer dress. 
Putorius noveboracensis. Report N. Y. Survey, 1840, p. 18. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. IS. 

Characteristics. Summer, reddish brown above, yellowish beneath ; winter, white. Tip of 
the tail black. Length 16-24 inches. 

Description. Neck and body long and slender. Forehead convex. Whiskers numerous, 
a few extending as far as the ears. Eyes small, black and lively, 0'7 distant from the 
nose. Ears low, broad and rounded, 0-5 high, not entirely surrounding the auditory canal, 
which is covered with long hair ; on the margin, the hairs are sparse and short. Legs 
short, robust, five-toed, the inner much the shortest. In winter, the sharp curved claws 
and the soles covered with liair. Six abdominal and ventral teats. Fur short and soft, some- 
what coarser and longer on the haiiy tail, which is bushy at the end. Teeth thirty-four, as 
in P. vison. 

Color. Li summer the head, neck and body chesnut brown above, darker behind, and in- 
creasing in intensity along the tail to the tip. This brown color extends along the flanks, and 
the external parts of the extremities. Chin whitish, passing into yellowish wliite. A whitish 
stripe commencing at the chin, expanding a little on the throat towards the ears, broader over 
the breast, covering the interior and upper part of the fore legs, preserves nearly the same 
breadth along the belly, and terminates on the upper and inner part of the thighs. This color 
is separated along its course from the brown above by a well defined irregular line, which 
is occasionally dark brown. This is the ordinary state of the fur during summer, which it 
often retains late in autumn, and, as I have reason to believe, often through the winter. My 
friend Mr. Linsley has a specimen, which is " entirely rufous black, with two white spots 
" under the throat ; lower jaw white from the point to the rictus." In its complete winter 
coat, it is pure white along the back, light sulphur yellow along the sides and beneatli, 
including the legs. Tail jet black at the tip. 


Length of head, 2-0. Tail (vertebrae), 4-0. 

Length of neck, 2'0. Ditto, including fur,. 5-1. 

Length of body, 6 "5. 

These are, however, not the largest dimensions. I have seen one from Dutchess county, 
and another from Rockland county, measuring sixteen and a half inches ; and my friend Mr. 
Linsley states, that he has one measuring twenty and a half inches. 

The habits of this animal, as the ruthless destroyer of poultry, are well known ; but these 
injuries, which are obvious and potent, are, we think, more than counterbalanced by their 
destruction of hordes of mice which congregate in barns and in stacks of grain exposed in the 
fields. Upon one occasion, we remember to have seen an example of fifty or sixty mice, 
whose lacerated remains bore testimony to the valuable services of this species. 

I have never seen the true Ermine in its summer dress, and only know it from Pennant's 
description (Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 75) : " Ears edged with white ; head, back, side and legs, 
" pale tawny brown ; under side of body white ; lower part of tail brown, end black." 

Our animal is exceedingly active, nocturnal in its habits, and hiding under piles of wood 
or stone. We do not know whether it makes a burrow. Its geographical limits as yet are 
not settled. We suppose it to be a northern animal, found as far south as Pennsylvania. In 
its white coat, it is called, in some parts of the State, the Catamingo, and the White 


PuTOniUS VI30N. 

PLATE XI. FIG. 1. — PLATE Vni. FIG. 3, a, B. Skull. —(STATE COLLECTION.) 

Mustela vism. LiN. Gmel. Vol.1, p. 91. 

Minx Oder. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. I, p. 87. 

Vison. Id. ib. p. 78. 

M. vison. Harlan, Fauna Am. p. G5. 

M. bilreola., Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 206. 

M. (Putor'ms) vison. RicHARDSON, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 48. 

Characteristics. Tawny. Chin white or yellowish white. Ears short, and mostly concealed 
in the fur. Tail half as long as head and body. Length 20 ■ - 25 ' 0. 

Description. Body long and slender. Head small and rounded. Ears broad and low, with 
the auricular opening very large ; they are nearly hidden by the fur. Eyes small, ^^'hiske^s 
stiff, shorter than the head. Muzzle thick, and somewhat depressed. Neck very long. Legs 
short in proportion to the bulk of the animal. Claws short, slightly curved, blackish at the 
base, horn-colored at the tips, and nearly concealed by long subrigid hairs. Toes webbed, 
with short hairs on the webs above and below. Tail thick at the base, cylindrical, slender, 
gradually tapering to the tip. The fur shortest on the head, longer behind, and is of two 
kinds ; a soft light gi-cy down, covered by longer lustrous hairs. Two fetid glands near the 


insertion of the tail. Six teats, ventral. Teeth 34. Above, the four internaediate incisors 
are alike, and subequal ; the exterior larger, channelled on the outside, and somewhat enlarged 
at the base. Upper canines larger and longer than those below, and in their reciprocal posi- 
tion exterior to, and reaching below the sockets of the lower canines, with no tubercle to their 
bases. First cheek tooth above smallest, with a sharp point, and a broad shoulder directed 
outwards, with two fangs ; the second larger, with a single point, and two equal shoulders ; 
the third largest, with three points in a line, the middle largest and the anterior smallest, with 
a fourth on an internal space : this tooth is emarginate in front, almost receiving the posterior 
shoulder of the preceding tooth. The last cheek tooth wider than long, with two elevations 
externally circumscribed by a raised margin ; its internal projection has one blunt point, like- 
wise surrounded by a raised margin. In the lower jaw, the incisors are smaller than those 
above, the two medial smallest and subequal ; the first cheek tooth very small, elevated in 
front, with a slight ridge dividing the shoulder behind ; the next larger, with its posterior 
shoulder lower than that in front ; the succeeding one tricuspid, triangular, with its shoulders 
equal ; penultimate tooth largest, trictispid, its posterior point truncate with a sharp ridge ; the 
last smallest, with a central depression, and a raised margin which is highest on the outside. 

Color. Nearly uniform, reddish brown or tawny above, slightly paler beneath. Chin, and 
frequently a small spot on the throat, and occasionally one or two smaller spots between the 
fore legs, white. Posterior portion of the tail blackish, frequently intensely black at the tip. 

Head and body, 14*0. Height at meatus, 0'9. 

Tail (vertebrae), 7-0. Greatest diameter behind meatus, 1"1. 

Ditto (tips of fur), 8"0. Extent over zygomatic arches, 1 • 3. 

Length of skull, 2'3. Skull in the same line, 0'5. 

The Mink is a well known animal in every part of the State. Its popular name is corrupted 
from jncEnk, given to it by our early Swedish colonists. It lives almost exclusively near ponds 
and water courses, feeding on fish, fresh-water shells, aquatic reptiles, and the eggs of tor- 
toises. In their habits they are closely allied to the Otter ; so much so, that Pennant arranged 
it under that genus, and in his History of Quadrupeds calls it the Lesser Otter. It swims 
and dives with great facility, and can remain a long time under water. It has a strong disa- 
greeable odor, which, according to Prof. Emmons, is that of the skunk and cat combined. 
Occasionally it invades the poultry yard, and causes great havoc. It feeds also upon field 
mice, and other small quadrupeds. It is said to be capable of domestication. The hunters 
in the north of the State have described to me two varieties of the Mink : One they call 
Mountain Mink, which is small and black ; the other, which they call the Water Mink, is 
much larger, and of a chesnut red. From their dissimilar habits, I should be inclined to sus- 
pect the first to be a distinct and hitherto undescribed species. 



Embraces the Otters, which are amphibious, with broad palmate feet. Tail enlarged at the 
base, and 7nore or less horizontally flattened. Piscivorous; valuable for their fur. Com- 
prises two ge7iera. 

GENUS LUTRA. Ray, Cuvier. 

Head bi-oad and rounded, terminating in a blunt muzzle. Ears very short. Body robust. 
Legs short. Toes five before, and the rudiment of a fifth behind, connected by a mem- 
brane, and armed with short not retractile claws. A fetid gland, on each side of the vent, 
containing fetid matter. Good swimmers ; live along banks of streams. Incisors, | ; 
canines, | ; cheek teeth, \^ = 36. 

Obs. In the latest systems, nine sjjecies are enumerated, of which three are from America. 
The existence of more than one species in America is, however, as yet not clearly esta- 




Common Otter. Pennant, Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 80. 

Land Otter. Warden, Hist. U. S. Vol. 1, p. 206. 

Lutra canadensis. Sabine, Franklin's Jour. p. 653. 

L. braziliensis. Haklan, Faun. p. 72. Godman, Vol. 1, p. 57, pi. fig. 2. 

i. canadensis. RiCHAEDsoN, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 57. (Large Northern Var.) 

Canadian Otter. Griffith, Cuv. R. An. Vol. 2, p. 316, figure. 

American Otter. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1838, p. 25 ; 18-10, p. 46. 

Characteristics. Glossy brown. Chin and throat dusky white. Tail shorter than the body. 
Length three and a half to five feet. 

Description. Head globular, but not as much as in the European species. Lips thick and 
fleshy. Ears short and rounded. Eyes small for the size of the animal, and near together. 
Whiskers remarkably rigid. Body long, cylindrical. Tail slightly depressed at the base, 
nearly one-fourth of the total length ; at the base of the tail, two oval glands. Fur fine and 
dense, intermixed with coarser hairs. In their dentition, the Otters are eminently characterized 
by the enormous dilatation of the two posterior check teeth in the upper jaw. Our species, 
in this particular, offers some variations from the European Otter. The penultimate jaw 
tooth, in one species, has a broad internal heel directed obliquely forward, with a deep fissure 
dividing the surface into two rounded and elevated portions ; and the pointed tubercle is broad, 
■with a high shoulder posteriorly, and comparatively little elevated. The last tubercular tooth 


subquadrate, nearly as large as the preceding, and its greatest axis directed obliquely back- 
wards, with four or rather six distinct elevated points ; but the outer raised margin, which is 
so conspicuous in the European Otter, appears to be indistinct, or simply elevated into two 
pointed tubercles, or wanting entirely, in the American. With age the anterior jaw teeth be- 
come effaced. In a very aged specimen which we have placed in the State Collection, the 
two anterior jaw teeth on each side (false molars) have disappeared, and even the canines are 
worn down to the sockets. Length of this skull, 4*1 ; height at meatus, 1'7; transverse 
diameter at meatus, 2*2; distance across the zygomatic arches, 2 " 9 ; narrowest diameter, • 8. 
Color. This varies with the season to a slight extent, but is usually of a dark glossy brown, 
and white or light-colored about the face and throat. In summer, nearly black, lighter be- 
neath. Tail darkest towards the tip. 

Head and body, 39- 0-48-0. 

Tail, 14-0-18-0. 

The females are smaller than the males. 

The American Otter, once so numerous in every part of the State, is now exceedingly 
scarce. In the counties of Kings, Queens, Suffolk and Richmond, it is now extirpated. In 
the northern districts, it is yet sufficiently numerous to become an object of pursuit. The 
hunting season for the otter conuuences there about the twentieth of September, and continues 
vuitil the middle of May, and its fur ranks in value next to that of the beaver : a good skin is 
worth eight dollars. They arc used by hatters for the finer sort of hats, and are also converted 
into costly caps. 

The Otter is a sagacious, wary animal, selecting low swampy gi'ounds near a pond or 
running stream for its abode. He makes an excavation in the bank, which opens under water, 
and a small breathing hole to the surface of the ground. Like the Beaver, he is too sagacious 
to be caught by any bait in a trap ; and accordingly, the steel trap is placed in the water be- 
neath the exit from their burrow, or at the bottom of one of their slides. These otter slides, 
as they are termed, form one of the most interesting peculiarities in the history of the animal, 
and almost approach the fabulous. In winter, they select a high bank of snow, and amuse 
themselves for hours in sliding down, head foremost. In summer, they choose a steep bank 
by the side of a stream, which terminates in deep water, and indulge there in the same recrea- 
tion. I have never seen the animal thus employed, but it is universally believed among hunt- 
ers ; and I saw, in the uninhabited northern districts of the State, many of the places which 
had been used as slides, and which pointed out to the keen eye of the hunter a siu-e sign of 
numerous otters in the vicinity. 

The Otter is capable of being domesticated, and lives principally on fish and other aquatic 
animals. They live in small families, like the Beaver. They have two young at a litter, 
about the middle ot latter end of March, but the period of gestation is unknown. The secre- 
tion from their anal glands is used as a bait. 


The Canadian Otter, as described by Richardson, appears to be a large variety, with a uni- 
formly colored fur above and beneath. The figure given by Griffith represents it with a white 
nose, chin and abdomen. I have carefully compared the skull of the southern species lataxina, 
with the New- York Otter, and can find no essential nor even trivial diflference. If, then, as I 
apprehend, the species described by Richardson, and the lataxina, are identical with the one 
above described, this Otter is found from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf of 
Mexico to the shores of the Arctic sea. 


L. lataxina. (Fred. Cuv. Die. So. Nat. Vol. 27, p. 243.) Deep blackish brown, paler beneath; 
the long coarse hair uniform brown black ; the fine down bro^vnish above, greyish on sides of the 
head and under side of neck. Carolina, Kentucky. 

Genus Enhydra, Fleming. Embraces the Sea Otter, and characterized by having six incisors above, 

and but four beneath. Cheek teeth, J-f = 38. Body very long ; legs and tail very short. 
E. lutris. Sea Otter. (Griff Cuv. Vol. 2, p. 316, fig.) Chesnut bromi or black; twice the size of the 
common otter ; fur exceedingly fine. Total length five feet ; tail ten inches. North Pacific Coast. 


Muzzle elongated, naked, glandular. Ears moderately large, and in most of the domesti- 
cated species pendent. Tongue smooth and soft. Tail for the most part hushi/. Fore 
feet with five, and hind feet with four not retractile claios. Cheek teeth tivelve above, and 
fourteen beloiv. 

Obs. In this family, we propose to include the Dog, Fox and Wolf, which are extremely 
difficult to separate by positive characters. The former is known only in a domesticated 


Tail recurved. Pupil of the eye circular. Vary indefinitely in form, size and color, the 
result of domestication. 


Canis pamiliaris. 

Upwards of thirty varieties or races have been enumerated by systematic writers, nearly all 
of which have been introduced into this country. Of those peculiar to North America, we 

Var. a, borealis. (Esquimaux Dog.) Fur long, thick and woolly beneath; top of the head 
and back black ; nose, cheeks, belly and legs white ; ears short, erect. 

Fauna. 6 


Var. b, lagopus. White, with patches of blackish grey ; ears pointed, erect ; foot broad and 
hairy ; tail bushy. 

Var. c, terrcR-novcR. (Newfoundland Dog.) Head broad ; nose blunt ; ears long, soft and 
pendulous. Of this there appears to be two distinct races : One has the breast, posterior 
part of the thighs and tail with long waved hair, the rest of the body with smooth and 
compressed hair ; the other variety is entirely covered with long waved silken hair. 

Var. d, canadensis. Black and grey, mixed with white ; ears erect, long, shaggy. 

Var. e, novce-caledonice. Spotted ; body long ; legs short, straight ; ears erect. 

The most conspicuous among the imported varieties are, the danicus, or Spotted Carriage 
Dog ; grains, or Greyhound, of which there are several races ; extrarius, or Spaniel ; aqua- 
ticus, or Curly Poodle ; avicularius, or Pointer ; molossvs, or Bulldog ; sagax, or Hound, &c. 
In this State, our hunting dogs are almost exclusively derived from England. The breed 
used for deer is the Fox-hound, and frequently a mixed breed between the Harrier and Stag- 

Eyes oblique. Tail straight. Piqnl of the eye circular. 


Lupus occidentalis. 


Cmiis'lupvs., Fauna, p. 81. 

Tlir Common Wolf. GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. I, p. 255, fig. 1. 

C. (Lupus) occidentalis. RiCHARDSoN, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 60. 

C. lupus. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1838, p. 26; 1840, p. 28. 

Characteristics. Color various from white to black, usually greyish. Space between the ears 
greater than their height. Feet broad. Neck and tail with bushy hair. 

Description. Compared with the European species, the body is more robust, and the legs 
shorter; the muzzle thicker and more obtuse. Ears erect and conical. 

Color. In this State, the prevailing color is dark grey, mixed with reddish ; darker along 
the back ; shorter in summer. Frequently whitish about the ears, throat and breast. Exterior 
of the ears and legs with a reddish tinge. Anterior part of fore legs blackish. Tail varied 
with white, black and ferruginous. 

Length of head and body, .36 • - 48 • 0. 

Tail, ■ 10-0-12-0. 

Prof. Emmons gives tlie total length from a specimen in his possession, 60' 3. 


The American Wolf, hitherto confounded by our systematic writers witii the European, 
offers many varieties, which, as in dogs, seem to affect particular localities. In this State we 
have two varieties. 

Var. a. Grey Wolf. WHiite or greyish white in winter ; in summer it has short reddisii 

hairs. This is the most common kind. 
Vak. b. Black Wolf. Entirely black, more bulky and powerful than the preceding. Very 


The Wolf, in this State, confines its depredations chiefly to deer and other animals. In 
some of the southern counties, where they were formerly so numerous as to require legislative 
enactments, they are now entirely extirpated. Vanderdonck, writing from New- York about 
the year 1645, says, that one of the principal objections to keeping sheep in the Colony, was 
the number of wolves. They are still found in the mountainous and wooded parts of the 
State, and, we believe, are most numerous in St. Lawi-ence and the adjacent counties. We 
have been assured by intelligent hunters, that their ravages among deer are so great that they 
destroy five to one killed by man. They follow deer either singly, or in packs of eight or 
ten, with all the ardor of a pack of hounds, and with a prolonged howl. They usually select 
a young or injured deer, and trust more to tire him down, than to overtake him by superior 
speed. In the summer, their prey easily escapes by taking to the water ; but in winter, the 
same instinct leads to his immediate capture, for on the ice the wolf quickly overtakes him. 
Towards spring, there is scarcely a lake in the north of the State that has not numerous car- 
cases of deer on its frozen surface. In most of the counties, bounties varying from ten to 
twenty dollars per head are offered for the wolf, paid partly by the State, and partly by the 
county and the township. 

Our wolf is equally voracious and cowardly, flying before man. I have, however, known 
them, when satiating their hunger over the carcase of a deer, to snarl and snap at tlic approach 
of a man, and only to leave their prey reluctantly when he arrived almost within striking 


Var. a. Dusky Wolf. (Say, Long's Exped. Vol. 1, p. 333. Richardson, pi. 3.) Northern 

Western Regions. 

Var. b. Pied Wolf. (Richardson, Vol. 1, p. 68.) Arctic Regions. 

Var. c. White Wolf. (Lewis and Clark, Vol. 1, p. 107.) Arctic and Western Regions. 

Var. d. Florida Wolf (Bartram, p. 199.) 

Var. e. Yellow Wolf. (Lewis «fe Clark, Vol. 1, p. 40.) Missouri. 

Var. f. Prairie Wolf. (Say, Long's Exped. Vol. 1, p. 27 and 162.) Missouri. 



Nose pointed. Head more triangular than in the preceding. Pupils linear. Eyes oblique. 
Upper incisors nearly vertical. Tail long, bushy and cylindrical, without pendulous hairs. 
Have a fetid odor, and bu7'row in the earth. Nocturnal. Smaller and more numerous 
than the preceding. 




Red Fox. Lewis &, Clark, Vol. 2, p. 159. 

Canisfubnis. Desm. Mammalogie, p. 203. 

Red Fox. Sabine, App. Frankl. Jomney, p. C56. 

C. vulpes? and C.fulvus. Haulan, Fauna, p. 86 and 89. 

The Red Foj:. <3odman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 276. 

American Fox. RiCHARDSoN, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 91, pi. 6. 

Canis ( Vidpes vulgaris) vulpes ? The Fox. Id. ib. p. 97. 

Cross Fox. Id. ib. p. 93, (Variety.) 

The Red Fox. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 30. 

Characteristics. Reddish above, whitisli beneath. Ears behind, and anterior part of legs 

varying from light brovk^n to deep black. Length 3-4 feet. 
Var. a, decussatus, witli black stripes across the neck and shoulders. 
Var. b, argentatus, black entirely. 

Description, (from a large male killed in Queens county, January.) Snout small and 
pointed. Length of head, 7*0. 

Color. Anterior part of the head, the flanks and back, bright reddish, more particularly 
along tiie back and foreshoulders, where the color is more intense. Margin of the upper jaw 
and chin, pure white. Throat, breast, and a narrow space along the belly, whitish, mi.xed 
with brown on the latter. Fore and hind feet black in front, the black on the latter extending 
up on the outside of the thigh. Toes margined with fulvous. Brush ample, reddish, com- 
posed of two sorts of hairs ; the one, black at the base and reddish at the tips ; the other, 
much longer, entirely black, and giving to the whole tail a dusky appearance. 

Head and body, 29-0. 

Tail (vertebraj), 12-0. 

Ditto, tips of hairs, 16'0. 

The Red Fox varies considerably in weight and size ; the specimen above described weighed 
eleven pounds, and I have heard of others weighing fifteen pounds, but such are not common : 
the more usual weight is from eight to ten pounds. Although this fox burrows well, yet it is 
not uncommon to find them taking possession of tlie burrows of the skunk, for the purpose 


of rearing their young. Richardson states that it burrows in summer, and in winter takes 
refuge under a fallen tree. It brings forth four to six young, about the latter end of March 
or first of April, in my neighborhood : these are at first covered with a smoke-brown fur. In 
a htter which I once saw, the tips of the tail in all were white, and like the dog, were blind 
for some days after birth. They feed on the smaller quadrupeds and birds, and are accused 
of destroying lambs. They make occasional forays upon the barnyard, but in this respect 
they are not so daring as the other species, and perhaps in some measure compensate for 
these injuries by destroying field mice and other noxious vermin. Its flesh is rank and disa- 
greeable. It is to this species we refer two strongly marked varieties, which have by some 
naturalists been treated as species. 

1. The Cross Fox. Color of the preceding, with a dark stripe on the neck from the head 
to the back, crossed at right angles by another dark stripe over the shoulders. This cross is 
sometimes only feebly distinct, and at others well defined. It has the size, form, habits and 
fine fur of the Red Fo.x, and is always considered by the hunters as a variety. The caprice 
of fashion has attached a great value to this skin. While the red fox skin is valued at about 
two dollars, the cross fox has been known to sell for twelve, and sometimes as high as fifteen 
dollars. It occurs in every part of the State, but more particularly in the northern districts. 

2. The Black Fox. (Godman, Vol. 1, p. 274, pi. fig. 1.) Almost entirely black ; the end 
of the tail and spots on the breast occasionally white, sometimes intensely hoary. This is 
very rare in this State. I have never met with it ; but I have been assured by hunters, in 
the northern counties, that they have sometimes killed it. Richardson, p. 94, asserts that its 
fur fetches six times the price of any other fur produced in North America. Its value doubt- 
less increases with the intensity and purity of the black color. 




The Grey Fox. Catesby, Car. Vol. 2, p. 78. 

Canis virginianus. Gmelin, Syst. Vol. 1, p. 74. 

C. cinereo-argentatits. Say, Long's Exped. Vol. 2, p. 340. 

C. viTginianus. Harlan, Fauna Americana, p. 89. 

The Grey Fox. Godmak, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 280 (figure). Emmons, Mass. Report, IS'IO, p. 31. 

Characteristics. Grey, varied witli fulvous ; a patch of black on each side, between the eye 
and nose. Smaller than the preceding. 

Description. The body is lower on its legs, and its muzzle is more acute than in the Red 
Fox. Tail thick and bushy. 

Color, generally hoary or silvery grey, becoming darker from the foreshoulders to the 
posterior parts. Fui- at base lead color, then soiled wliite, gradually becoming white, and 
tipped with black. Head grey. Ears yellowish within, tinged with reddish around their 
bases ; tips dark browai, yellowish behind. On each side of the head a sub-triangular patch 


between the eyes and nose ; near the orbits, this black patch is produced upwards in a narrow 
line towards the ears. Muzzle black, yellowish on each side for a small space above ; sides 
of the neck tawny ; lower jaw black. Breast occasionally spotted with white. Beneath, light 
colored. Tail of the general hue of the body, slightly tinged with rufous beneath, and occa- 
sionally darker at the tip. 

Head and body, 18-0 -25-0. 

Tail (vertebra;), 7-0- 10-0. 

Ditto (tip of hairs), 9-0 - 12-0. 

This species is more common in the southern counties than farther north. On Long Island 
it is very abundant, and is there frequently known under the name of the Plain or Grass Fox. 
It affords great amusement to hunters, but not for the reasons assigned by Godman ; namely, 
that it is kdled generally near the place where it is first started : On the contrary, it usually 
takes a direct course for many miles, at least on the great plains ; and as the ordinary deer- 
hound is generally employed, I have often known it to escape. 

The Grey Fox is bolder and more astute, if possible, than the red one, and more frequently 
prowls about barn-yards. Very little, however, is known of his habits, beyond his destructive 
propensities. Catesby asserts that they climb trees with facility. This is probable, for I have 
witnessed the same fact in the Red Fox, when closely pursued by hounds. The Grey Fox 
does not extend far beyond 42° north, and its southern limits extend to Florida. 


C. velox. Burrowing Fox. (Say, Long's Exped. Vol. 1, p. 486.) Body slender; silvery grey, 
varied With fulvous. Tail Ions' and blackish. Smallest of the American Foxes. Missouri. 


Head short in proportion to its length, rounded. Muzzle short, obtuse. Claivs completely 
retractile. Exclusively carnivoi-ovs . Nocturnal. 

Obs. This family, which corresponds nearly with the old linnean genus Felis, has been 
extended, by some modern system-mongers, to include Dogs, Wolves and Foxes. As we 
understand it, it comprises four or five genera, and about forty species. In this State, we 
have but three representatives of this family, included under two genera. 


GENUS FELLS. Li7ineus. 

Ears short and distant, not tufted. No inane. Tail lo?ig, varying occasionally iji the same 
species. Tongue roughened with prickles. Claws curved and acute. Cheek teeth eight 
above, and six below. 

Obs. The common imported Domestic Cat belongs to this genus. It is now generally 
believed to have been derived from the JF". maniculata, Ruppel, which still exists in a wild state 
in the northern parts of Africa. Ruppel supposes it to have been first reclaimed by the 
Egyptians. It is a common opinion that we have, in this country, wild cats, which have been 
derived either from the domestic cat resuming its primitive wildness, or by alliance with those 
already in a wild state. This is a great error. We have no small species, characterized by 
a long tail, in the country. 


Felis concolor. 

PLATE IX. FIG. 2. Adult. — PLATE IX. FIG. I. YouNO. 

Felis concohr. Ll.N., Gmel. Vol. 1, p. 79. 

Cttgrmr. LosKiEL, p. 82. 

F. cougar. Temminck, Monog. de Mamm. p. 134. 

F. concolor. Harlan, Fauna Am. p. 94. 

The Cougar. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 201, figure. 

F. concolor, Desm. Mammalogie, p. 218. 

The Puma, ox American Lion. Em.mons, Mass. Report, 1810, p. 35. 

Characteristics. Very large. Uniform tawny, paler beneath. Length 7 -10 feet. Young, 
spotted with brown. 

Description. Body long, cylindrical, and rather slender. Legs robust, and comparatively 
short. Ears somewhat rounded. Tail long, slender, cylindrical. Fur soft and short. 

Color. Body and legs of a uniform fulvous or tawny hue. I have never observed the spots 
of a deeper hue, seen only in certain lights, which Temminck ascribes to this species. Ears 
light-colored within, blackish behind. Belly pale reddish or reddish white. Face sometimes 
with a uniform lighter tint than the general hue of the body ; oftencr with the mouth, chin, 
and internal angle of the eyes white. " Tail of the male longer than the female, dark brown 
" at the extremity." {Emmons.) 

Head and body, 53-0 - 84-0. 

Tail, , 20-0 -27-0. 

Description of a young Panther, 7iot more than a iveek old, from the Collection of Prof. 
Emmons. Ears pendulous, furnished with hair within and without, projecting beyond tlie 
margins. The whole body covered with a soft dense fur, forming on the sides of the neck 
an indistinct collar. Claws sharp, curved, not channelled. 


Color. The whole body light reddish grey, with oblong irregular blackish brown spots. 
According to Prof. Emmons, these spots mostly disappear at the first shedding of the hair. 
Tail with four annulations of the same color, blackish at the tip ; beneath, light dusky browii. 
Outside of the legs irregularly banded with grey and brownish, the latter predominating on 
the fore legs. .Space between the eyes, light brown. Ears black exteriorly, white within. 
Eyes large and black. A space on the middle portion of the upper lip, together with the 
wliiskers, white. Infra-orbital space and the chin soiled ,grey. 

Head and neck, 4'.5. Height of ears, 0"7. 

Body, 8 ■ 0. Ditto at foreshoulders, . . 4 ' 8. 

Tail, 4' 8. Girth round chest,- 7*5. 

In this specimen, only the four lower incisors were developed. 

The difference in the length of the tail in this species is worthy of note ; amounting, in 
individuals of nearly the same size, to several inches. In a specimen alluded to by Godman, 
the head and body was four feet five inches, and the tail two feet four inches. Prof. Em- 
mons gives a total length to one individual, of nine feet four inches. In a female, the tail 
was one foot nine inches ; and in a male, two feet three inches. Wliether this is a constant 
sexual distinction, is not yet sufficiently determined. Tlie largest individual of which we have 
any account, is in the Museum at Utica. It was discovered on a small island on Lake Fourth, 
Herkimer county, and killed by the hvmter Wood, just after it had taken to the water. When 
recently killed, it had a total length of eleven feet three inches. 

The Cotigar or Painter, (a corruption of the word Panther,) is now rarely seen in the 
southern parts of the State ; though the viriter remembers, when a boy, the consternation 
occasioned by the appearance of one of these animals in Westchester county, not more than 
twenty-five miles from New- York. In the early settlement of this State, this animal was 
believed to be a lion ; and we find in Vanderdonck's History of the New-Netherlands, the 
following passage in relation to this subject : " Although the New-Netherlands lie in a fierce 
" climate, and the country in winter seems rather cold, nevertheless lions are found there, 
" but not by the christians, who have traversed the land without seeing one. It is only knovni 
" to us by the skins of the females, which are sometimes brought in for sale by the natives. 
" In reply to our inquiries, they say that the lions are found far to the southwest, fifteen to 
" twenty days journey ; that they live in very high mountains, and that the males are too 
" active and fierce to be taken." 

In this State, the Panther is most numerous in the rocky northern districts, and particu- 
larly in the counties of Herkimer, Hamilton and St. Lawrence. They are occasionally seen 
among the Kaaterskill mountains ; and the specimen in the New- York Museum, which has 
served as a basis for many marvellous legends, was obtained from this locality. It appears 
rarely by daylight, unless hard pressed for food, but usually conceals itself behind fallen trees 
or rocks until evening. It prefers for its usual retreat, ledges of rocks inaccessible to man, 
which are known familiarly to the hunters under the name o{ panther ledges. They wander. 


however, over large tracts of country in search of their prey, but rarely leave the forests. 
When followed by dogs, it takes to the nearest tree, and looking down upon its assailants, 
makes a noise like the purr of a cat, but much louder. The screams attributed to this ani- 
mal during the night, are supposed by many hunters to proceed from some species of owl. 
The female brings forth two at a litter. They prey upon deer, and all the smaller quadru- 
peds, not even refusing the Canada porcupine. Occasionally they take to the water, but swim 
deeply and badly. 

The Panther is an animal of undoubted strength and ferocity ; and under certain circum- 
stances, such as are so graphically depicted by our celebrated novelist Cooper, may be 
induced to take a stand before the hunter. Notwithstanding the various stories of their fero- 
city and courage, I have never yet met with a well authenticated account of their having 
attacked a man. In this I am sustained by the testimony of every hunter I have conversed 
with ; they represent them as uniformly cowardly, and retreating as quickly as possible from 
the face of man. Prof. Emmons states, that most of the tales relating to its depredations are 
fictitious ; and that in the part of St. Lawrence county where they are most numerous, no 
instance is known of their having destroyed a single individual, man or child. I was told by 
a hunter, that upon one occasion, he met with a female panther and two of her cubs. They 
were quite helpless, and he took them up in his arms, the mother following at some distance, 
and stopping whenever he stopped, without venturing to attack him. In this way she fol- 
lowed him for two or three miles, when, as he approached a settlement, she finally disappeared. 
They have been known, however, to approach the shanty of the hunter, attracted no doubt by 
the fire or the smell of victuals ; but the smallest movement on the part of the hunter would be 
the signal for their disappearance. I was told of one in Warren county, that resorted to a barn, 
from whence he was repeatedly dislodged, and finally killed. He showed no fight whatever. 
His mouth was found to be filled with the spines of the Canada porcupine, which was proba- 
bly the cause of his diminished wariness and ferocity, and would in all probability have finally 
caused his death. 

The geographical range of the Cougar, Panther or Catamount, is very extensive. About 
fifteen years ago, one was shot near Montpelier in Vermont, and a few have been occasionally 
observed in Massachusetts. Its present northern limits do not probably extend beyond New- 
York. To the south, its limits are not well defined. It is said to extend through the inter- 
tropical regions to Paraguay. It is far from being well established that the northern and 
southern species are identical. 



Ears triangular, more or less tufted. Tail shorter than the head. 


Lyncus borealis. 
plate x. . fig. 2. 

Lynx Cat. Pknn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 50. 

Lynx de Canada. Cuv. Oss. Ed. altera. Vol. 4, p. 443. 

Felis borealis. Temminck, Monographic, p. 109. 

F. canadensis. Harlan, Fauna, p. 98. 

The Northern Lynx. GonMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 302, figure. 

Canada Lynx. RicHAEDsoN, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 101. 

F. canadensis. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1838, p. 27; 1840, p. 32. 

Characteristics. Grey, with darker spots. Ears acute, margined with rufous and black. 
Tail shorter than the head. Soles hairy. Generally larger than the suc- 

Description, {from a fine adult ?nalc in the Collection of Prof . E?nmons.) Body raised 
high on its legs. Head large and rounded. Ears triangular, 2-0 high, 3-5 apart, with long 
black cylindrical tufts 2-3 high. Eyes large, 1 • 5 apart. Whiskers stiff, horizontal, arranged 
in two oblique series, some of the longest 3 • 5, and white ; the posterior series brown horn- 
color. A broad ruff commences behind or rather beneath the ears, and surrounds the neck, 
except behind the ears, where there is comparatively a free interval ; on the sides of the head 
it is short, but beneath it is from 3'5 to 4"0 long. (In the female, this ruff is much shorter, 
and not particolored.) The fur is of two kinds ; a long fine wool, intermixed with longer 
subrigid hairs. On the line of the back, the fur is 1 • 5 long ; on the belly it is loose and pen- 
dulous, and 4*5 long. Base of the feet so densely furred as to conceal entirely the soles and 
claws, which latter are white, long, curved, acute, and channelled beneath. 

Color. The general color is grey, intermixed with rufous and black. Margin of the lips, 
upper margin of the nose and tip of the chin, bright rufous. Nose black, and slightly fur- 
rowed in the centre. Front of the head grey. Eyes yellowish in the living state. Ears 
white in front, margined with rufous, and behind this again bordered with black ; posterior 
part of the ear, light ash ; ear tufts black. Ruff white in front, and behind this it is longer 
and darker, approaching to black beneath ; on the sides of the head it is shorter, with a 
greater admixture of rufous. On the back, the fur varies from reddish brown to blackish 
brown at the base ; then dark brown or black, with hoary tips. Sides light fulvous at base, 
tipped with hoary. Anterior part of fore and hind legs, light fulvous. On the belly, the long 
loose hairs are soiled white, with a slight admixture of light fulvous at the base, and here and 
there scattered bunches of fulvous hairs. Tail rufous above for more than two-thirds of its 
length, tipped broadly with black ; beneath rufous, mixed witii lighter colored hairs. 


Total length, 40'0. Length of fore paws,.. 3*5. 

Length of head, ... 7-0. Ditto of tail (vertebra), 4"0. 

Ditto of fore legs, . . 13 -0. Ditto (including fur),.. 5"0. 

Ditto of hind legs, . . 14-0. Girth at foreshoulder, . 19-0. 

This is the Loup-cervier of the early French writers, and the Big Grey Wild-cat and Wol- 
verene of the New- York hunters. It is not uncommon in the northern districts of the State, 
preying chiefly on the northern hare and other small quadrupeds, and occasional!}? devouring 
lambs, pigs, etc. It is a timid animal, and is easily killed. Its progress is said to be a suc- 
cession of leaps, lighting on all four feet at once, but not advancing with great rapidity : Hence 
it is probable that it usually obtains its prey by surprise. Contrary to the usual habits of its 
family, it has no dread of water, but swims well and for a long distance. It breeds once a 
year, and has two young at a time. Its flesh is tender, but insipid. Its fur is much esteemed, 
and a skin usually sells for from three to four dollars. It is strictly a northern animal. Its 
geographical range is between 66° and 43° north latitude. 


Lyncus rufus. 

The Bay Lynx: Penr. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 51. Id. Hist. Quad. Vol. 1, p. 303, pi. 60. 

Mountain Lytix. Id. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 51. (Variety?) 

Frlis catns-ferus. LosKIEL, p. 83. 

FeUs ruftt. Temminck, Monogr.iphie, p. 141. 

Wild Cat. GoDMiN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 3, p. 239, (figure in vol. 1.) Emmons, Mass. Rep. 1838, p. 27 ; 1840, p. 34. 

Characteristics. A grey spot, bordered with black, behind the ears. Tail nearly as long as 
the head. Reddish yeUow in summer, ashy brown in winter. Soles naked. 

Description of an adult male. Head large and rounded. Body rather slender, with the 
legs disproportionately long. Ears large, subrotund, scarcely acute, with long hairs within ; 
2" 8 high and 3" 3 distant, with moderate black tufts scarcely an inch long. Whiskers nu- 
merous, about 2'0 long, and for the most part white. Length of the head 6-0, breadth 4 '8. 
Fore legs 10 "0 long, with five long, curved, acute, compressed, channelled claws of a greenish 
white color; the internal claw placed higher up, and rather more curved and robust than the 
others. Hind feet 12' long, with the soles uncovered, and with four claws resembling those 
on the fore feet. Tail rather slender, slightly curved upwards, and 5' 5 in length to tlie tips 
of the hairs. The ruff" of elongated hairs surrounding the neck, indistinct, and not so conspi- 
cuous as in the preceding species. 

Female and young with imperfect tufts on the ears. 

Color. Generally rufous, with various shades of brown, and darker along the dorsal line, 
being deepest about the middle of the back. Head obscurely lineated, with black between 
the ears. Eyelids black, margined with yellowish white. Sides of the nose white, with four 


or five parallel narrow intermpted lines of black, running towards the cheeks. Ears fulvous 
in front, black behind, with a greyish spot in the centre, dilated towards the external margin 
of the ear. Tail above of the same general color of the upper parts of the body, indistinctly 
annulated on its sides with dark brown ; beneath, white ; tip, deep black, intermixed with a 
few white hairs. Outer sides of the legs rufous, obsoletely barred, and spotted with reddish 
brown. Insides of the fore legs soiled white, barred with black. (Pennant supposes these 
bars and the semi-annulated tail to be constant specific characters, but this does not accord with 
my observations.) Fore paws and hair between the soles, dark brown. Hind legs whitish 
on the inside, obscurely barred and spotted with black. Chin greyish ; throat bright fulvous ; 
bclh^ whitish, irregularly spotted with black. 

Total length, 36-0. 

Length of head, 6'0. 

Ditto of tail (vertebras), 5 ■ 0. 

This was a large individual, and, as I think, above the average size, and more distinctly 
marked than usual. It was captured in the Tonnewanda swamp, Genesee county. The 
females, I am induced to believe, either have no tufts, or lose them in summer. Even, how- 
ever, in the case of the males, they can scarcely be considered as resembling the round elon- 
gated tufts of the other species. 

I am indebted to Prof. Hall, of the Geological Survey, for the specimen which furnished 
the above description. Prof. Emmons describes this species as rufous, with the insides of 
the legs spotted with brown, and a triangular patch of yellowish white bordered with blackish 
behind the ears. Godman, describing the animal as deep reddish with small spots of blackish 
brown, speaks of nearly vertical streaks of black between the ears. I suppose the Moun- 
tain Cat described by Loskicl as having reddish or orange-colored hair, with black streaks, to 
have been the Bay Lynx. 

The F. rufa of Richardson, from Columbia river, can not be referred to this species. 
Several species have been enumerated as inhabiting the United States ; but as I have not had 
an opportunity to examine them, I must pass them over in silence. It is scarcely worth while 
to burthen our list of American animals with new names, proposed by greedy and unscrupulous 
writers, for animals which they have never seen, and only know from the brief notes of tra- 
vellers. It would be desirable if the remarks of Temminck, cited below,* could be continually 
borne in mind by all writers, not only in reference to this, but every other genus. 

The Wild Cat is one of the animals alluded to by Vanderdonck, as being very common in 
the Colony at its first settlement. A hundred and thirty years ago, they were so numerous in 
Suffolk county, as to require the interposition of the Legislature. An act was passed in the 

♦ *' Ceux qui veulent d^crire les Chats sur des individus Isolds, seront sans cesse exposes a multiplier les espdces. II faut 
avoir vu un tres-grand nombre de depouilles, et s'^tre adonne a des recherches et a des comparaisons souvent renouvellees, pour 
6mettre une opinion sur la difference specifique de ces animaux, si difficiles de distinguer les uns des autres." {Monogra- 
phies, cf'C-) 


General Assembly, to encourage the destruction of wild-cats ; and in 1745, it was still found 
necessary to renew this act. At present, it is believed that they are entirely extirpated from 
this and the adjacent counties. They are still found in the more northern and western counties, 
in the wooded districts, where they prey upon birds and the smaller quadrupeds. 


Teeth various. Feet short and fin-shaped, not free, the phalanges being enveloped in the 
teguments. Hind feet horizontal. Rarely leave the water. Piscivorous. 

Obs. Some of the species are of great bulk, and all contribute in various ways to the wants 
of mankind. I am acquainted with the type of but one genus within this State. 


Head rounded. No external ears. Eyes very large. Feet with five toes, co?mected by a 
thick membrane. Mamma, two, pectoral. Tail short and thick. ■ Teeth of three kinds : 
Incisors, f ; canines, | ; cheek teeth, H = 34. Cheek teeth trenchant, many-lobed. 

Obs. To this genus, as restricted by Cuvier, belong at present about thirteen species, more 
or less perfectly indicated. The difficulty of examining the individuals of this family must be 
very great. A recent English writer states, that " little more is known of the Common Seal, 
" though an inhabitant of our own seas, than of those which are met with in the most distant 
" latitudes." 


Phoca concolor. 
Phoca vitulhia ? MlTCHiLI,, Am. Month. Mag. Vol. 3, p. 357. 

Characteristics. Uniform dark slaty grey. Young, entirely light yellow. Length, four feet. 

Description {of a female caught in the Sound near Sands'" Point.) Body elongated, cylin- 
drical, tapering gi-adually from the chest to the tail. Head broad and rounded, with the 
muzzle broad and truncated. Nostrils sublunate, 0'8 long. Tongue deeply emargiiiate at 
tip, and ciliated in the notch. Auditory opening 1 "5 behind the eye, with a small mammillary 
elevation about 0'25 high on its anterior border. Whiskers white, with short bevels on the 
edges ; disposed in five or six rows, the posterior stoutest and longest ; from 4 - 6 in a group 
above, and somewhat behind the eye. In repose, the web of the fore feet extends almost to 
the tips of the claws ; these are 1 • 5 long, gradually decreasing in size from the anterior : 
claws robust, flattened, incurved. When the web is extended, the edge is slightly webbed, 


almost straight. Hind feet with short flattened claws, of which the three middle ones are 
smallest, none exceeding the membrane, which, when extended, is undulated or scolloped ; 
under side, in a state of repose, gathered into two large folds. Tail spatulate, pointed, 2' 5 
wide at the base. 

Teeth. Lower incisors disposed in a curved line, concave outwards ; upper canines are 
strongest, and when the jaws are closed, include the lower. First cheektooth small, trilobate; 
the others multilobatc, and increasing in size backwards. 

Color. Uniform dark slaty grey ; but in the water, this appeared of a glossy blackish grey, 
slightly lighter beneath. Fore foot horn-color, mottled with darker. Young, soiled yellowish 
white, with indistinct traces of longitudinal marks. 

Total length, 51' 0. 

Length of tail, 3" 5. 

Weight, 1 29 lbs. 

We cite few synonimes, as we are inclined to believe that previous naturalists have taken 
it for granted, without due examination, that our Seal and the European are identical. Among 
the many American seals which we have examined, none have presented very distinctly the 
blackish or brown spots indicative of the P. vitulina, except in one specimen, which was evi- 
dently a pup of less than a year old.* 

The Common Seal, or Sea-dog, as it is frequently called, breeds in the autumn, bringing 
forth commonly two at a birth. They are now comparatively rare in our waters, but were 
formerly very abundant. A certain reef of rocks in the harbor of New-York is called Robin's 
reef, from the numerous seals which were accustomed to resort there ; robin or robyn being the 
name in Dutch for seal. At some seasons, even at the present day, they are very numerous, 
particularly about the Execution rocks in the Sound ; but their visits appear to be very capri- 
cious. The seal noticed above had a nearly fully developed fetus ; and as it was killed on 
the seventh of February, the time of parturition may be placed nearly about this period. 
Some authors assert that this takes place at any and every period of the year, but this seems 
highly improbable. Mr. Everson informs me that he has taken them, almost every year, in 
the River Passaic, in the fyke-nets, much to his regret ; for they generally do great injury 
to his net, and always make an obstinate resistance. We have but few notices of seals on 
our coast, unless in mere paragraphs in the public journals, hastily drawn up by persons 
unacquainted with natural history. In the Kingston (U. C.) Chronicle of February, 1823 or 
'24, there is a notice of a seal having been taken on the ice on Lake Ontario, near Cape 
Vincent (Jefferson county) in this State. The paper gives no description, but asserts, on the 

* When I drew up this description, I was not aware of the true specific characters assigned to the Phoca vitulina by Prof. Nill- 
son, and have had since no opportunity of verifying them upon the Seal of the coast of New-York. These characters are, 1, the 
oblique position of the molar teeth, by which the internal posterior margin of one is in contact witli the outer anterior margin of 
the next behind it ; 2, the posterior margin of the palate deeply notched ; 3, the external process of the nasal bone elongated and 
rounded, while the inner is not more than half the length of the former, and with its fellow makes a small triangle. 


authority of Indian traders, tiiat seals have heretofore been seen on the borders of the Lake, 
though the circumstance is one of rare occurrence. A species of seal was captured, some 
years since, near Lynn, Massachusetts, which is mentioned in the newspapers as being beau- 
tifully spotted, especially on the under side, and referred to the P. vitulina. In August, 
1824, a seal was exhibited alive in New- York, which had been taken in a seine in the Che- 
sapeake, near Elkton, Maryland. Dr. Mitchill, who saw it, supposed it to be the P. vitulina; 
although, as he states in a newspaper paragraph, " in the written account, (alluding to a 
"description he had drawn up in 1818 of a seal taken near Amboy,) there is no note 
" of the natural mark in the breast of the present creature, nor of more than five claws on 
" the fore feet." What this natural mark could have been, or what is meant by more than 
five claws, must be left to conjecture, or to await the examination of another individual. 


Form and habits of the preceding, hut the head is furnished ivith a dilatable hood. Teeth 
30 ; four incisors above, and two beneath. 

Under the barbarous name of Mirounga, Mr. Gray has proposed to group together several 
species of this family, which are characterized by " the nose elongated into a trunk, and the 
" teeth with simple roots." In the present state of our knowledge of this family, we prefer 
the name and characters noted above. 


Stemmatopus cristatus. 


Phoca cristala. Gmelin. 

Hooded Seal. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 162. 

P. crUlata. De Kay, Ann. Lye. New-York, Vol. 1, p. 94, pi. 7. King & Ludlow, ib. p. 99. Harlan, Fauna, p. 106. 

GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. I, p. 336, figure. 
The Crested Seal. Hamilto.n, Nat. Hist, .\rnphibioui Carnivora, p. 197, pi 14. 

Characteristics. Grey, varied with brown. Nasal sac bright brown. Feet blackish brown. 
Length 6-7 feet. 

Description. Body robust, cylindrical, tapering gradually to the tail, and covered with 
flattened decumbent hairs. Head small in proportion to the body, with a moveable muscular 
bag on its summit, extending from the muzzle to about five inches behind the eyes, and in 
certain positions nearly covering the internal canthi. This sac is twelve inches long, and 
when fully distended, nine inches high, covered with short hairs, and with slight transverse 
wrinkles. The nostrils are round, each two inches in diameter, and pierced in the anterior 
part of this hood. When the hood or nasal sac is not inflated, the septum nasi can be dis- 
tinctly felt, elevated into a ridge about six inches high. Eyes large, distant 6-5 from the 


extremity of the muzzle. Ear openings distinct, two and a half inches behind and beneath 
the eyes. The cheeks and nasal sac, with 25 - 30 strong whiskers on each side, arranged 
in rows converging forwards ; those of the upper series, small and black ; of the lower, very 
stout, white, flattened, and about 5-0 long: all directed downwards. Under the lens, they 
exhibit alternate short bevels on each side. Anterior swimming paws fifteen inches long, 
arising about twenty inches from the end of the jaw, and furnished with five strong, com- 
pressed, channelled claws, of which the external is largest. Posterior feet of same length, 
with their webs lunated, fifteen inches wide, and furnished with five flattened nails not 
extending, either in the fore or hind feet, to the end of the web. Tail three inches wide at 
base, flattened and tapering to the tip, and covered with hair similar to that on the bod}'. 

Teeth. The incisors above cylindrical, contiguous ; the exterior largest, and nearly half as 
large as the canine ; the upper canines larger than those below, and more incurved. The 
incisors below, very small and cylindrical. Cheek teeth in both jaws small, distant and 
trenchant, with a notch on the posterior part of the edge ; the first remote from the canine, 
and smallest. 

Color. Grey and dark brown, distributed in irregular patches ; on the abdomen, the grey 
predominates. Eyes represented as dull greenish. Nasal sac bright brown or rufous. Fore 
and hind feet of a uniform blackish brown. Claws dark at base, light horn at their tips. 

Total length, 90-5. 

Length of tail, 6*5. 

Weight, 5-600 lbs. 

This description was taken from an adult male captured near Eastchester, about fifteen 
miles from the city. It made considerable resistance, emitted a bellowing noise when 
attacked, and exhibited no symptoms of fear. 

This is an inhabitant of the northern regions, having been seen as high as the seventieth 
parallel. The preceding must be considered as the first notice of its existence within our 
territorial limits, where it can only be regarded as a rare and accidental visitor. 


Genus Trichecus, Lin. Form and habits of the preceding genera. Four incisors above in the young, 

none below. Two canines enlarged into enormous tusks. Cheek teeth, f - | ; the last above 

rudimentary, deciduous. 

T. rosmarus. Walms or Morse. (Godman, Vol. 1, p. 3.54, figure.) Tusks 120 - 36-0 long. Skin 

\vith short yellowish broAvn hair. Length 12-15 feet. 

Obs. These were formerly numerous on our coast, but are now scarcely ever found south of Cape 



T. virginianus. (Plate 19, fig. 1, a, b. Ann. Lye. N. Y. Vol. 1, p. 271. Cab. Lyceum.) Cheek teeth 
with obliquely truncated crowns, not ridged ; the second smaller than the first. Accomac county, 



No canine teeth. Incisors for the most part two in each jaw, large, strong, and remote 
from the grinders. {In LeporidcR there are 2-4-6 in the upper jaw.) Cheek teeth 
twenty-two at most. Toes distinct, ivith small conical claws. Jaivs moveable horizon- 
tally. The greater 7iumher furnished with stout clavicles. No abdominal pouch. 

This order comprises a great number of the smaller quadrupeds, living almost exclusively on 
vegetable food. According to the latest enumeration, there are nearly three hundred species 
distributed over the globe. In North America, upwards of seventy species have been 
described ; and we shall doubtless have many more to add to the list, for it is among these 
small quadrupeds that we are to find new species. We divide this order into five families. 


Grinders simple, with tubercular summits. Upper incisors chisel-shaped ; the lower pointed, 
compressed laterally. Incisors, | ; molars, ^—^z=20 or 22. The fifth upper anterior 

molar exists only in the young. 


Body elongated. Eyes large. Ears erect. Upper lip divided. Posterior extremities longer 
than the anterior, which have four long distinct toes, and a tubercle covered with an obtuse 
nail in place of a thumb. Eight teats ; two pectoral, the remainder ventral. Tail long, 
with long bushy hair, often distichous or directed laterally. 

Obs. All the species of this genus live mostly on trees ; for which purpose, their long 
flexible toes, with acute nails, enables them to leap from tree to tree, rarely missing their 
hold. They feed on seeds, nuts, grain, and occasionally worms. About forty species have 
been described. 




Lesser Grey Squirrel. pENN. Hist. Quad. Ed. secunda. 

Hvdson^s Bay Sqmrrel. Var. a, Carolina. Penn. lb. Vol. 2, p. 147, Ed. tertta. 

Hudson Squirrel. Var. a, Carolina. Id. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 116. (Variety.) 

Sciurus cinereus. Harlan, Fauna Am. p. 173. 

iS. carolinensis. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 131, pi. fig. 2. 

8. leucotis. Gappab, Zool- Journ. Vol. 5, p. 206. Bachman, Mag. Nat. Hist. 1839, p. 220. 

Common or Little Grey Squirrel. Emmons, Mass. Rep. 1840, p. 66. 

Fauna. 8 


Characteristics. Grey above, lighter beneath ; sides of head and legs tinged with rufous. 
Ears not pencilled, soiled whitish behind. Tail rather longer than the head 
and body, edged with white. Length 1-5 -O. 

Description. Forehead arched. Ears somewhat pointed, but rounded, and covered with 
short hairs ; no pencil of hairs at the tips. Whiskers black, as long as the head. Tail large 

and bushy. 

Color. This is subject to great variations, depending upon age and season ; but the following 
may be considered as tolerably constant : Above, bluish grey. Chin, throat and all beneath, 
white. The sides of the head and ears, the flanks, anterior part of the forelegs and the sides 
of the hind legs of a ferruginous or fawn-color of various shades of intensity, generally most 
conspicuous on the hind legs. Frequently on the lower part of the checks a bright fulvous 
spot, and occasionally an obscure stripe of brown on the back, reaching to the base of the 
tail. Tail edged with whitish. — Head and body, 8'0. Tail, 8 '5. 

Yoim^. Space round the eyes, the nape, foreshoulder and flanks hght reddish brown. 
Summit of the head, outer parts of the legs, the back and rump blackish. Belly and inner 
part of the legs brown. Tail blackish, intermixed with fulvous, and light fulvous on the 
margin. These arc usually mistaken for hybrids between the black and grey. 

Var. A. All the upper parts of the body tawny. 

Var. B. Entirely dark brownish or black. This is taken frequently for tlie Black Squirrel, 

and by others supposed to be a hybrid between the little grey and black, but erroneously 

so. Common in various counties. 
Var. c A dark stripe on the flanks, margined above with reddish. Rockland county. 
Var. D. Two reddish lateral stripes in both the adult and young, but more distinct in the 

Var. E. Abdomen bright ferruginous. 

This well known little animal is found in every forest abounding in nuts of various kinds. 
They prepare their retreats in the hollow part of some tree, at a distance from the ground, 
and produce from four to six at a birth. In the season, they are exceedingly irritable and 
pugnacious ; but the popular belief that the males emasculate each other, is unfounded, 
these parts (in the j'oung more especially) being often retracted within the abdomen. 

One of the most remarkable peculiarities of this species, is its singular and distant migra- 
tion in large bodies. Bachman [Op. sup. cif. p. 226) has furnished an interesting account 
of an extraordinary migration of this sort, which he witnessed in the autumn of 1808, a short 
distance above Albany. On that occasion, troops of squirrels suddenly and unexpectedly 
made their appearance. They swam the Hudson in various places between Waterford and 
Saratoga. Those which were noticed crossing the river, were swimming deeply and awk- 
wardly, with their bodies and tails wholly submerged. Many were drowned ; and those 
which were so fortunate as to reach the opposite bank, were so wet and fatigued, that they 
were readily killed with clubs. On that occasion, their migration did not extend farther than 


the mountains of Vermont. An unusual and general failure of their requisite food is, of 
course, the motive for such migration. This species, in common with the others, feed on 
berries, seeds and nuts, particularly hickory nut {Cari/a alba), of which they are very fond, 
and make large hoards for iheir winter supply. They also attack wheat and maize in its unripe 
state. Their depredations in this way are often so considerable that parties of men and boys 
sally forth for wliat is called a squirrel hunt, and almost incredible numbers are thus destroyed 
in a single day. In districts well peopled, it can scarcely be considered as a species injurious 
to man. 

The Squirrel has a wide geographical range. Of its western limits we are not informed ; 
but along the Atlantic, it is found from Hudson's Bay to Carolina. 




Sciunts vulpinus. Gmelin. 

The For Squirrel. GoDMiN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 128. 

S. vulpinus. Grey or Fox Squirrel. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 06. 

Characteristics. Grey above, white beneath. Mucli larger and more robust tlian the preced-. 
ing. Length 25-0- 30-0. 

Description. Body robust. Eyes large and prominent. Ears 0'6 higli ; ilie hair on tiic 
posterior surface projecting 0'2 beyond the margins, but not forming a distinct tuft or pencil. 
The whiskers project horizontally two inches on tlie sides of tlie nose ; a few bristles over tiie 
eyes, and a patcli of the same beneath and posterior to the eyes. Legs robust, with stout, 
compressed, curved, dark brown claws. Tail exceedingly voluminous. 

Color. Sides of the nose, the chin, throat and abdomen white. Summit of the head 
blackish, occasioned by the predominance of long uniformly black hairs. Sides of the cheeks 
fulvous ; the hair on the ears of a somewhat brighter tint. Nape and all above of a grey 
color, the hair being dark slate at the base, tlien light fawn, afterwards black, and finally 
white at the tips ; intermixed witii these, and much longer, are hairs uniformly black through- 
out. Anterior parts of the extremities light fawn, becoming still lighter on tlie toes. Tail 
indistinctl)' annulated with black and white, and when viewed from above, appears bordered 
on each side with black, the' white tips of the hairs projecting beyond this margination". 
Each hair is distinctly annulated with white and black ; the last black annulation preceding 
the white tip being wider, and 6f a deeper hue than the others. 

» - Length of head and body 13'.0. 

Ditto of tail (vertebra), 11 '5. 

Ditto ditto (including fur), 1 5 • 5. 


Many persons imagine that this is but a larger race or variety of the Little Grey Squirrel ; 
and indeed they agree in every particular, except their size. We suspect that Godman's Fox 
Squirrel, as well as his Cat Squirrel, are varieties only of the Hooded Squirrel, and not to 
be referred to our northern animal. Prof. Emmons states that its flesh is not so sweet or 
white as that of the little grey squirrel. Varieties are occasionally met with, tawny, and dark 
brown. Its habits and geographical distribution are the same as in the preceding. 




Sciurus niger. Say, Long's Exprd. Vol. 1, p. 262. Harlan, Fauna, p. 177, (excl. syn.) Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. 

(excl. syn.) Vol. 2, p. 133, figure. 
Black Squirrel. RiCHARDSON, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 191. 
S. niger. Bachman, Mag. Nat. Hist. 1839, p. 335. 
The Black Sqidrrel. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 67. 

Characteristics. Entirely glossy black ; a shade lighter beneath. Claws covered with hair. 
Hind legs with a few scattering hairs beneath. Length 12' - 14" 0. 

Description. Body more gaunt and slender than in the Little Grey Squirrel, and the head 
narrower between the eyes. Ears 1-3 apart, broad, with the posterior slope nearly straight ; 
tips subacute, not pencilled, but with hairs of the posterior surface extending beyond them. 
Whiskers in two series on the sides of the nose, longer than the head, two or three above the 
eyes, and a patch of three or four on the cheeks. Outer and inner claws of fore feet subequal, 
the outer slightly shortest ; a few long black hairs on the posterior part of the fore legs ; the 
two middle claws of the hind feet equal ; posterior part of hind leg nearly naked. Tail cylin- 
drical, scarcely distichous. Fur softer and finer than in the little grey squirrel. Molars eight 

Color. Glossy jet black. Base of the fur above, deep slate ; beneath, it is light grey. 
Palms flesh colored. 

Length of head and body, 13" 0. 

Ditto of tail (vertebra;), 10-0. 

Ditto ditto (including fur), 13 'O. 

It is usually supposed that the winter fur of this species is most intensely and generally 
black. The homogeneousness of color may be found at all seasons ; for we have killed them 
in July and August, in the western part of the State, intensely black. 

The confusion alleged to exist in the descriptions of our Squirrels, and more especially in 
relation to this species, may be thus explained : Catesby (Nat. Hist. Car. Vol. 2, p. 73) 
figured a species, subsequently known as a variety of the Hooded Squirrel, S. capistratus. 
Linneus, in his twelfth edition, gives it the name of niger, citing Catesby, but without any 


specific phrase. Brisson (Reg. An. Vol. 1, p. 105) refers to the same plate, which he pro- 
nounces excellent. Pennant (Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 119) adopts the same course, considering 
it as S. niger. In this he is copied by Erxleben (p. 417), and by Schreber (Saugth. Vol. 
2, p. 776), which latter reproduces Catesby's figure. The dark brown or black variety of 
the Little Grey Squirrel has also been described as the Jiiger ; and from these various sources, 
so much confusion has arisen, that Cuvier, in the first edition of his Regnc Animal, supposes 
the black and little grey squirrels to be varieties of capistratus. In the second edition, he is 
silent on the subject, and his American editor supposes the black squirrel to be a variety of 
the grey. In the catalogue at the end of the volume, which is understood to have been fur- 
nished by Major Le Contc, the Black Squirrel, as a species, is suppressed. Harlan, Godman 
and Richardson, have very properly restored it to its place in the systems. Precise technical 
naturalists may, however, deem it proper to restore the name of niger to capistraius, and give 
the present species a new name. They are, however, now so firmly established and gene- 
rally known, that little would be gained by the change. It appears to be well authenticated 
that it disappears before the little grey squirrel. We have been assured by many credible 
persons, that in certain districts where formerly none but black squirrels were seen, their 
place is now almost exclusively occupied by the grey squirrel. 

This species appears to have but a limited latitudinal range. It is found throughout the 
western counties of the State. Few arc found south of Pennsylvania. Westwardly its dis- 
tribution has not been ascertained. Habits the same as the preceding. 




Hudson's Bay S<iuirrel. Pennant, Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 116. Id. Hist. Quadr. Vol. 2, p. 147. 

Schints hudsoniais, Var. e, vulgaris. Erxleben, p. 416. 

Red Sqmnel. Warden, Hist. U. S. Vol. 1, p. 330. * 

Red Barking Squirrel Schoolcraft, Journal, p. 273. 

S. hudsonius. Haklan, p. 185. GoDMAN, Vol. 2, p. 138, figure. 

The Chickaree. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 187, pi. 17. Bachman, Mag. Nat. Hist. 1839, p. 383. 

Common Red Squirrel. EsiMONS, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 67. 

Characteristics. Reddish above, white beneath. Ears slightly tufted. Tail shorter than the 

Description. Forehead rounded. Whiskers numerous, black, longer than the head. Ears 
short, broad and rounded ; furnished with long hairs projecting beyond the margin, but rarely, 
if ever, distinctly tufted. Legs robust ; fore feet with the rudiment of a thumb nail. All die 
claws sharp, compressed, and much incurved. Teeth as in the other squirrels ; that is to 
say, ten molars above, the deciduous molar falling very early. Tail not as long as the head 
and body, not very bushy, and somewhat distichous. 

Color. Above deep reddish brown, with scattering darker hairs ; dark grey at base. 


Cheeks, and all beneath, white, separated along the flanks by a black line, which in some 
individuals is very indistinct : in specimens from high northern latitudes, it appears to be 
generally absent. Tail deep reddish brown above, with blackish hairs on the borders ; on 
the under side it is rufous in the middle, then black, and tipped with brown. 

Length of head and body, 8'0. 

Ditto of tail (vertebra), 5'0. 

Ditto ditto, including fur, 6'5. 

This familiar and well known species is found from the Arctic circle to the mountainous 
ranges of North Carolina and Tennessee. We observed, in the northern part of the State, a 
remarkable variety, which presented the following appearance : The whole upper part of the 
head and body, with the exception of a large reddish spot on the left flank, was of a light 
ash grey ; the reddish spot was separated from the white beneath, by a deep black border. 
Tail white, intermixed with a few dark hairs. 

The Red Squirrel is a: noisy little animal, and its twittering note of cJiick-a-ree has suggested 
one of its popular names. It feeds on fir-cones, hickory and otiier nuts, and also on the seeds 
and buds of trees. In the northern counties, its greatest enemy is the Sable, and from him it 
requires all its well known agility to escape. It takes to the water readily, and, as we have 
noticed, swims tolerably well. It dives, too, in order to avoid a threatened blow. It feeds also 
upon wheat, rye and buckwheat ; but its injuries to the farmer must be very limited. Its habits 
appear to be influenced by the climate ; for at the north it forms deep burrows in the earth, 
under the roots of trees, to protect itself from the cold ; whilst in this State, it contents itself 
with occupying a hollow in a tree. Its flesh is juicy and tender, and is generally preferred, 
as an article of food, to the other species. Its geographical range is from the mountainous 
districts of North Carolina, to the sixty-eighth degree of north latitude. 




Scmnis slnatus. l.IN. 12lh ed. p. 87. 
Striped Dormouse. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 126. 
Das Schwarl: Gcstreichte Erd-Eiahhorn. ScHREBEE, Vol. 2, p. 790. 
. S. striatus., p. 183. GoDMAN, Vol. 2, p. 142, figure. 
S. amcrtcanus. Kdhl. 

S. (Tamias) bjsleri. RicHAr.DSON, F. B. A. p. 181, pi. 15. 
The Striped Sqtiirrd. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 68. • 

Characteristics. Reddish brown ; a black dorsal stripe, and a shorter light-colored lateral stripe 
bordered witli black. 

Description. Body shorter and more robust for its size, than in the preceding species. Head 
slightly rounded towards the nose. Ears ovate, rounded ; the hair slightly exceeding the mar- 


gins, but not in a tuft. Whiskers few, and extending beyond the eyes. Fore feet with four 
compressed, curved claws,, and the rudiments of a thumb ; the two middle claws longest and 
subequal, all partially covered with hair; soles with five tubercles. Hind feet long, with the 
three middle toes subequal. Tail slender, rather cylindrical above, distichous on its lower 
surface. Molars eight above. Dilatable cheeks, not forming distinct pouches. 

Color. Forehead tawny mixed with black, with a small black spot above the nose. A slight 
whitish mark above and beneath the eyelids, becoming dilated towards the ears, with an inter- 
mediate black dash in the same direction passing through the ej'e. Upper part of the neck, 
anterior part of the back, and superior surface of the tail, grey mixed with black. Flanks 
greyish, passing into reddish on the rump and thighs. The cheeks, throat, breast, belly and 
internal parts of the fore legs and thighs, white more or less mixed with light ash. A narrow 
chesnut brown dorsal stripe commences between the ears, becomes dilated and darker on the 
back, and ends about an inch from the tail. A short white stripe is parallel with this on each 
flauk, bordered above and below with black, the lower black border frequently much dilated. 
These longitudinal markings are frequently treated as composed of five parallel black lines. 
The space between the lateral and dorsal stripes grej'. Rump bright tawny. The under side 
of the tail fulvous, bordered with black and grey. 

Length of head, 1'7. Of tail (vertebrfe), 3' 8. 

Ditto of body, 5 '5. Ditto (including fur), .. 4 "5. 

This common species is well known under the various popular names of Hachy, Ground 
Sqnirrel, Chippmg Squirrel, Chipmuck; the latter, we apprehend, being its aboriginal name 
in this State. There appears to be a doubt with some naturalists, whether the Asiatic and 
American animals are identical. Dr. Richardson appears to consider their identity as not yet 
jjroved by actual comparison, and proposes for the American the name of Tmnias lysteri, 
giving Ray the authority for the specific name. The descriptive history of this species ap- 
pears to be this : It was originally noticed by Ray in 1683, in his Synopsis Methodica Ani- 
malium, p. 216, without giving it a name. " Huic {S. getulus, Caii apud Gesnerum, the 
" Barbary Squirrel) similis est Sciurus a Cla. Dom. Lyster observatus, et sic descriptus : 
" Sciurus c minoribus est rufis cineriisque pilis fere ad similitudinem vulgaris muscovitici 
" coloratur ; in medio dorso unica linea ex toto nigra ; itemque ad ulrumque latus altera eaque 
" latiuscula; quidem, at multo brevioriis earumque etiam media albicant. Huic cauda brevis, 
" corpore concolore at nigrior, et raris pilis donatus, etc." It was subsequently noticed by 
Edwards & Catesby ; by Linneus, in 1754 ; in the Miis. Ad. Fred., by Pallas ; by Schreber, 
in 1755; and in the last correct edition of the Systema, 1766, Linneus describes striatus, 
quoting Catesby & Edwards, and considering their animal as identical with that of Siberia. 
Desmarest {Diet. Se. Nat. Vol. 52, p. 170) appears to doubt whether they are identical. 
We may here remark, by the way, that his description of the American striatus appears to 
iiave been drawn up from a young or very small specimen. From Daubenton's description ■ 
of the Asiatic species, the chief differences appear to be the following : In the latter the tail 
is black towards the extremity, tipped with white ; the intermediate space between the dorsal 


and lateral stripes, light yellow. These are trivial differences, such as might occur between 
two individuals of the same species. The size of the two species sufficiently coincide. 

The laborious compiler Schreber describes carefully the Asiatic Squirrel, and the following 
appears to be the principal points : " Eyelids bare and dark brownish on the margins. Color 
" of the head, neck, sides and outer part of legs yellowish (griseo-lutescens.) On the sides of 
" the head are four alternate pale and brown stripes. Tail above blackish, beneath yellowish; 
" along its sides, a darkish obsolete border, etc." 

The genus Tamias of Illiger, we deem founded on unimportant or insufficient character, if 
applied to our species. Its habits might seem to imply an organization somewhat different 
from the other squirrels ; but neither the slight difference in the deciduous upper anterior 
molar, nor the situation of the brain, are of themselves sufficiently important. The tail of the 
Ground Squirrel is distinctly distichous ; and the cheeks, though susceptible of great dilata- 
tion, do not form true cheek pouches. 

The Ground Squirrel is usually seen running along fences, and particularly attached to 
stone walls, which afford him a ready retreat. Under these he makes his burrow, in which 
he lays up his store. A favorite spot is the centre of some decayed stump. It rarely ascends 
trees, and only when its retreat is cut off from its hiding place. It appears to be of an irrita- 
ble disposition, resisting every attempt at domestication. Its food is the same as with the 
other species. It is stated by Prof. Emmons to be occasionally injurious to maize, by destroy- 
ing the kernel when the plant is just out of the gi-ound. 

It is common over all the State. Its geographical range, in this country, appears to be 
included between the fiftieth and thirty-third parallels of latitude. 


S. caroliiicnsix, Bosc. (Bachman, Mag. Nat. Hist. 1839, p. 330.) Rusty grey, white beneath ; ears 

nearly naked ; anterior molar in upper jaw persistent. Tail as long as head and body. Smaller 

than leucotis. Length 17 'O. Southern States. 
S. macrourus. (Say, Long's Exp. Vol. 1, p. 115.) Black and grey above. Tail very large. Length 

19 •0-20-0. Missouri. 
S. auduboni. Black above, beneath brownish. Tail equal to length of head and body. Smaller than 

nigcr ; ears shorter. Length 23*0. Louisiana. 
S. quadrivittatus. (Say, Op. cit. Vol. 2, p. 45.) Head with four white stripes; on the back, four 

broad white lines akernating with darker ones. Head and body 4 • 2 ; tail 3-0. Alhed to 5<ria<«i. 

Rocky Mountains. 
S. fuliginosus. (Bachman, Op. cit. p. 380.) Black above, grizzled with brownish yellow. Tail 

flattish, much shorter than the body. Length 18*5. Mississippi. 
S. richardsonii. (Bachman, p. 386. Lewis & Clark.) Rusty grey above, whitish beneath; end 

of tail black, and shorter than the body. Length 11 -2. Rocky Mountains. 
S. douglasii. (Bachman, Op. cit. p. 382.) Dark brown above, brighter buff beneath. Tail shorter 

than the body. Length 14-6. Colwmbia River. 


S. capisiraius. (Fox Squiirel of Bachman, p. 117.) Usually grey; ears and nose white ; fur coarse. 

Tail longer than head and body. Length 29 "5. Largest of the genus. Southern States, Neio- 

S. lanuginosus. (Bachman, p. 387.) Yellowish grey above, silver-grey on sides, beneath white. 

Tail shorter than the body. Palms and inner surface of toes thickly clothed with silky hairs. Fur 

soft and doAvny. Length 14 "0. Columbia River. 
S. nigrescms. (Bachman, p. 334.) Black above, slightly varied with grey; sides of the neck, upper 

part of thigh and rump pale yellow, beneath soiled grey ; feet black. Tail longer than body. 

Length 27*5. California. 
S. collet. (Richardson, App. Beechy.) Above varied with black and yellow, beneath white ; feet 

white; cheeks greyish. Tail less than length of head and body. Length 20-1. 


Teeth as in the preceding genus. Ears round. Upper lip divided. Toes elongated, deeply 
divided. The skin dilated on the sides from the fore to the hind legs, forming a sort of 
parachute in the air. 

Obs. This genus at present embraces nine species, of which two are found in America, one 
in northern Europe, and the remainder in Java. Some of the species are nocturnal. 


Pteromys voluoella. 


Scimus amerkanus volmis: Ray, Synop. Quad. p. 215. 

Flying Squirrel. Penn. Hist. Quad. Vol.2, p. 153, No. 351. 

Sci-urus vohicella. Gmelin. 

Flying Squirrel. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 120. 

Pleromys volucetla. Harlan, Fauna, p. 187. 

Common Flying Squirrel. GOD.MAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 147, figure. Emmons, Mass: Report, 1840, p. 69. 

Characteristics. Brownish ash, tinged with cream color on the body, above ; darker on the 
membrane, which is bordered with white. Length 9"0 - 10' 0. 

Description. Head short and rounded ; muzzle rather obtuse. Ears large, broad, membra- 
nous, nearly naked, and • 5 high. Eyes large, brilliant and prominent. Whiskers numerous, 
some of them three inches in length. Claws feeble, compressed, convex and acute, nearly 
covered by hairs ; the two middle claws of the fore feet subequal, longest on the hind feet, 
the inner toe shortest. Tail flat, distichous, linear, rounded at the tip, 1 • 2 broad. The fur 
particularly fine and soft ; on the extremities beyond the membrane, it is very short. 

Color. Head mouse-grey. Orbits of the eyes margined with black. Sides of the nose, 
cheeks, and all beneath pure white, with occasionally a slight tinge of reddish on the under 
Fauna. 9 


side of the tail. Body above with a rufous tint, the dark slate-colored hairs being tipped with 
that color. On the upper side of the flying membrane, the predominating color is dark brown, 
varied slightly with faint reddish brown, becoming darker near the edge, which is bordered 
with white, and occasionally cream-color. Tail, on its upper surface sometimes bright red- 
dish, at other times uniform with the color of the back. 

Length of head, 1-3. Of tail (vertebra), 4-0. 

Ditto of body, , 4-0. Ditto (including fur), . .. 5-0. 

The dimensions of this squirrel are usually smaller than in the specimen from which the above 
description was taken. 

The Flying Squirrel is well known throughout this State. The expanded fold of skin is in 
many species supported by a small bone, articulated to the wrist. In the American species, 
this is rudimentary. By the aid of this membrane, they are enabled to dart from one tree to 
another, not by an actual movement of the membrane, as we have seen among bats ; but by 
sailing obliquely downwards, and rising suddenly when within a few inches of the tree upon 
which they mean to alight. In this sailing movement, they are aided, and perhaps slightly 
guided by their broadly expanded tail. They form their nests in hollow trees, from which they 
are easily roused by striking on the trunk. They are of a gentle disposition, and easily domes- 
ticated ; are fond of warmth, and will sleep during the whole day, closely pressed against the 
body of their master. At twilight they arouse themselves, and afford much entertainment 
by sailing about the room, always commencing their flight by climbing to a chair, table or 
shelf. It brings forth three or four at a litter, and lives exclusively on nuts, seeds and buds. 
It does not appear to be found far beyond the great lakes, but extends through the United 
States. According to Lichtenstein, it occurs in Mexico. 


P. sabrimts. (Richardson, Vol. 1, p. 193, pi. 18.) Resembles the preceding, but is much larger. 

Length 12 inches. Arctic America, Sault St. Marie. 
P. oregonensis. (Bachman, Ac. Sc. Vol.8, p. 101.) Ears longer than in sair!»M*s. Brown above, 

beneath white. Length 12 inches ; alar extent 9 inches. Oregon. 


Head large, and somewhat flattened. Ears short and rounded. Molars ten above and eight 
below ; anterior surface of incisors rounded, the upper surface ridged and tuberculous. 
Body thick and heavy, with short limbs. Tail bushy, moderate or shoi't. Some species 
with cheek pouches. All burrotv and hybernate. 

This group, which is closely alhed to the Squirrels, comprises many small animals, which 
have been indifi"erently referred to Squirrels or Marmots. America is particularly rich in 
species, but few are found within the limits of the Union, and but one within our State. 



Genus Spermophilus, jF. Cuvier. Ample cheek pouches, commencing at the commissure of the lips, 
and extending to the sides of the neck ; the anterior ridge on the upper cheek teeth nearly obso- 
lete, and the internal spur much developed. Tail long and linear, bushy. 

S. tredccimlineatus, Mitchill. (Richardson, pi. 14.) Six to eight yellowish longitudinal stripes, the 

. intermediate spaces \vith black spots. Length 8-10 inches. St. Peter'' s River. 
S. lateralis. (Say, Long's Exped. Vol. 2, p. 46. Richardson, pi. 13.) A yellowish white stripe 

on each flank, bordered with black. Length 10-12. Rocky Mountains. 
S. douglasii. (Richardson, Vol. 1, p. 172.) Hoary brown above, with a black stripe between the 

shoulders; pale brown behind, with indistinct black marks. Length 12 - 13. Columbia River. 
S. beecheyi. (Richardson, pi. 12. b.) Above reddish varied with blackish, beneath brownish yellow. 

Tail long, bushy and round. Length 17 inches. California. 
S.franklini. (Richardson, pi. 12.) Yellowish brown above, thickly spotted with black; greyish 

white beneath. Tail long. Length 16 inches. Arctic Regions. 
S. richardsoni, Sabine. (Richardson, pi. 11.) Yellowish grey above, varied with black; beneath 

pale orange ; very short ears. Length 16 inches. Arctic Regions. 
S. grammurus. (Say, Long's Exp. Vol. 2, p. 72.) Cinereous tinged with reddish; fur coarse and 

flattened. Three black lines on the tail. Length 21 inches. Rocky Mountains. 
S. guttatus, Temminck. (Richardson, Vol. 1, p. 162.) Clove-brown above, spotted with white; 

beneath and feet ocbraceous; no external ears, and short tail. An Spermophilus ? Length 10 

inches. Rocky Mountavis. 
S. parryi. (Richardson, pi. 10.) Greyish above, pale rust-color beneath; face chesnut-color ; ears 

short; tail flat. Length 16 - 18 inches. Hudson's Bay, Behring's Straits. 
S. ludovicianus, Ord. (Godman, Vol. 2, p. 114, plate.) Prairie Dog. Reddish brown above, 

mixed with grey and black ; beneath soiled white. Tail short, banded with brown near the tip. 

Length 19 inches. Missouri. 

GENUS ARCTOMYS. Linneus. Gmelin. 

Form, habits and teeth of the preceding. Cheek pouches rudimentary. Living in societies. 
Fore feet with four distinct toes and the rudiments of a thumb ; hind feet with five toes, 
and all furnished with strong hooked and compressed nails. Tail bushy. 

Obs. The distinction between this and the preceding geniis is exceedingly obscure. 



Arctomys monax. 
plate xxi. fig. 4.— (state collection.) 

Mus mcmax. LiN. 12 Ed. p. 81. 

Arctomys, GmelIN. 

Maryland Marmot. Penn. Arct, Zool. Vol. 1, p. 111. 

Arctomys jnonax. Harlan, Fauna Amer. p. 158. 

Maryland Marmot, GOD.MAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 100, figure. Griffith, Regne Animal de Cuvier, Vol. 3, p. 

170, figure. 
The Woodchiick. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 153. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 64. 

Characteristics. Adult, reddish grey ; head and neck reddish brown ; sides of the nose ashy ; 
beneath bright reddish. Tail uniform with the body, its tip slightly darker, 
Young, rufous, or uniform black. 

Description, Body robust and clumsy. Head broad, conical, tapering suddenly to the snout, 
which is blunt and somewhat truncated. Ears short, broad and rounded as if truncated, two and 
a half inches apart ; hairy within and without. Eyes moderate, black. Wliiskers numerous, 
two and a half inches long ; a group of three or four over the eyes, and a more numerous 
collection on the posterior part of the cheek beneath the ears. Toes well divided and long. 
On the fore feet the claws arc longest, slightly curved, and the one next to the internal longest. 
Thumb rudimentary, with a small nail. Hind feet semipalmate, with the claws channelled 
towards the tips, the three middle claws subequal ; palms of the fore feet with five tubercles, 
three in front and two larger behind. On the hind feet, four irregular tubercles at the base of 
the toes, and two or three unconsf)icuous ones behind. Length of the soles, 2" 5. Tail bushy, 
sub-distichous, expanded towards the tips. Fur composed of a short wool, and mixed with 
coarse hairs, which are longest on the foreshoulders and flanks ; on the head, chin and feet, 
short, subrigid and adpressed. 

Color, subject to many variations, but the following are most constant : The short fur is 
dark brown at base, and ferruginous at the tip ; through this appear long subrigid hairs, black 
for two-thirds of their length, and white at the tips. From this results a color which may be 
designated as reddish grey. On the summit of the head the color is of a uniform shining 
reddish brown, being ferruginous where it joins the grey of the back ; the reddish brown 
extends beneath the eyes, and within 0"5 of the extremity of the nose. The chin and space 
around the nose, ash grey ; the nose brown. Upper parts of the fore and hind legs and body 
beneath, deep reddish. Feet covered with blackish brown hairs. Tail resembling in color 
the upper part of the body, darker towards the end, which is lipped with reddish. From a 
remarkably fine adult specimen caught in May, and of which we have given a figure, we are 
enabled to add the following particulars : On the back the hair dark slate at the base, and 
light rufous at the tips ; the longer hairs are black, annulated near the tips with grey ; hence 
results a general dusky grey on the anterior part of the back, the flanks, sides of the neck. 


and exterior of the thighs. Summit of the head, spaces round tlie eyes, and on the nimp and 
tail, dark brown ; chin, space around the nose, and a few scattering hairs at the internal base 
of the ears and over the eyes, grey. Tliroat, abdomen and superior parts of the extremities 
with long, shaggy, bright reddish hairs. Feet dark brown, approaching to black. Ears with 
sparse hairs on both sides, projecting beyond the margins. A few of the black whiskers, and 
those above the eyes, extend as far as the ears. Tail deep brown, with a shade of dark rufous. 

Length of head, 4-5. Length of fore claw, 0-6. 

Ditto of body, 12-5. Ditto of hind claw, 0-5. 

Ditto of tail (vertebrje), . . 5 • 5. Height of ear, 0'6. 

Ditto, including fur, 7-3. Width of ditto, • 8. 

Height, 7-0. Girth of body, 16-0. 

The young exhibit great varieties in their markings. Three apparently not fully grown 
woodchucks, which I obtained from the hemlock forests about Oneida lake, and which were 
taken from the same burrow, and measured from 10-11 inches in the length of their head 
and body, exhibited the following appearances : 

No. 1 . All the upper parts of the body and tail rufous, varied with grey ; beneath bright 

No. 2. Uniform jet black above and beneath, except the space surrounding the chin and 
mouth, which was cinereous grey. 

No. 3. Summit of the head, posterior portion of the back and tail dark brownish. Throat, 
sides of the neck, anterior part of the back, the foreshoulders and flanks, grizzled with long 
hoary hairs. Beneath, bright fulvous. Tail dark brown above and beneath. 

The Woodchuck, or Ground-hog, as it is sometimes called, is common in almost every 
county in the State. In some places it appears to select pine forests for its abode ; and in 
others, it appears to prefer cleared lands and old pastures. It feeds on clover and other suc- 
culent vegetables, and hence is often injurious to the farmer. It is said to bring forth four or 
five young at a litter. Its gait is awkward, and not rapid ; but its extreme vigilance and 
acute sense of hearing prevent it from being often captured. It forms deep and long burrows 
in the earth, to which it flies upon the least alarm. It appears to be social in its habits ; for, 
upon one occasion, wc noticed some thirty or forty buiTOws in a field of about five acres. 
These burrows contain large excavations, in which they deposit stores of provisions. It 
hybernates during the winter, having first carefully closed the entrance of its burrow from 
within. It is susceptible of domestication, and is remarkable for its cleanly habits. Its 
cheeks are susceptible of great dilatation, and are used as receptacles for the food which it thus 
transports to its burrow. Its range, as far as we have been enabled to ascertain, is from 
Maine to Carolina. It probably extends through the western States. 

We have never seen the Quebec Marmot noted beneath, although we have heard that it has 
been found in this State. We find no specific difference between it and the woodchuck, 
except in the color. From the description given by Richardson, which is the most recent and 
complete, it bears a great resemblance to No. 3 noted above. 



A. tmpetra. (Richardson, pi. 9.) Hoary above, reddish orange beneath; cheeks whitish. Tail 

brown and hoary, with a black tip. Size of monax. Northern Regions. 
A. prvi/iosiis. (Richardson, p. 150.) Long coarse fur, especially on the back and shoulders, where 

it is hoary ; hind parts dull yellowish brown. Tail bushy, blackish brown. Size of preceding. 

Rocky Mountains. 
A. brachyu.nis. (Harlan, p. 304.) Above brownish grey tinged with red, and speckled with lighter; 

nose, feet and under side of body brick red. Tail flat, red above, with a white margin. Length 

17 -0. Tail 2*5. Columbia River. 


Fore feet very short. Hind feet disproportionately long. ' Tail generally longer than the 
body. Molars with tubercular crowns, 6-8 beneath, 

Obs. This forms a small but distinct group, comprising at present about ten species, 
included under three genera. 


Consisting of small species. Tail very long, slender, and nearly iiahed. Molars beneath 
six. Fore feet with a riidi7nentary thumb, with a small 7iail. Hybernate. Nocturnal. 


Merione.? americanu.?. 

plate xxiv. fig. 2. — (state collection.) 

Labrador Rat. Pesn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 132. 

Dtpus americanus. Baktok, Am. Philos. Trans. Vol. 1, p. 114, figure. . 

D. canadensis. Davis, Lin. Trans. Vol. 4, p. 155, pi. 8, figs. 5 and 6. 

Gerbillus canadensis et tairadorius. Harlan, Fauna Am. p. 155. Godman. Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 94, figure. 

Meriones lahradorilis. RiCHARDSON, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 144, pi. 7. 

Gerbitlus cayiadetisis. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 69. 

Characteristics. Dark reddish brown above, yellowish on the sides ; beneath whitish, tinged 
with yellow. Length 8 ' - 9 • 0. 

Description. Head narrow, conical, with a small projecting black muzzle covered with 
short rigid hairs, leaving a naked space about a tenth of an inch wide. Nostrils small, oval 
and lateral. Mouth beneath. Whiskers long and black, extending to the ears, and even 
beyond them, with a few scattering hairs before the eyes. Ears suboval, nearly a quarter of 
an inch long. Eyes very small. Fore feet feeble, 0-. 5 long, with four white, sharp, com- 


pressed straight nails, of which the internal is shortest ; a small rudimentary thumb near the 
base of the inner toe. Hind legs slender, nearly two inches long ; the anterior surface covered 
with short white hair. Tail long, slender, cylindrical, scaly, with short rigid adpressed hairs ; 
slightly enlarged at the base, a few hairs extending 0' 3 beyond the tip, which is not, however, 
tufted. Fur short, not remarkably fine, longest on the posterior parts of the body. Teeth : 
Incisors, | ; molars, | =: 18. The upper cutting teeth yellowish, and so deeply channelled 
in the centre as to produce an impression at first that there are four incisors above. The 
anterior molar above, and the posterior beneath, smallest. 

Color. Head dark brown above. Ears margined with fulvous. Space beneath the nose on 
each side, white. In some specimens this is yellowish, and forms a yellow stripe extending 
backwards towards the ears. On the upper part of the body a broad dark brown dorsal stripe, 
becoming yellowish on the sides and whitish beneath. These colors are almost distinctly 
separated. The dark color of the back is produced by intermixture of numerous black hairs 
on a fulvous ground. Base of hairs on the head, back and sides slate-colored. The white of 
the belly not unfrequently mixed with cream-color ; and where it unites with the hair on the 
sides, it is bright rufous. Tail white beneath, separated distinctly from the brown above. 

Length of head, .' I'O. 

Ditto of the body, 2-0. 

Ditto of the tail, 5-0. 

This curious little animal, although rarely seen, is not uncommon in every part of the State. 
It was first noticed by Pennant ; and subsequently, either this or a closer allied species was 
described- by Zimmerman in 1780, under the name of Dipus hudsonius, but we have had no 
opportunity of consulting his description. For the next notice we are indebted to Dr. Barton, 
with a figiu-e. Two years afterwards, Davis published a meagre notice, with a figure. 
Sabine's labradorius was drawn up from a mutilated specimen. From the confusion existing 
in relation to this animal, it appears to be probable that many strongly marked varieties, and, 
as we have seen, imperfect specimens, have served as the basis for the creation of new 
species. We refer to our deer-mouse, the notice given by Prof. Peck in the American Phi- 
losophical Transactions, Vol. 4, p. 124. The G. inegalops, leonurus and soricinits, of a 
grossly innacurate and unscrupulous foreign writer in the American Monthly Magazine, p. 
446, we consider as mere varieties. A careful and extended comparison of many specimens 
from various districts will be requisite, before we are enabled to pronounce with certainty 
upon the existence of more than one species. 

The Deer-mouse forms its nest under heaps of stone, or piles of rails, and occasionally, 
but not often, in stacks of wheat, rye or maize. It brings forth four young, in August. It 
was called by the Mohegans of this State, Wah-peh-sous, or the " animal jumping like a 
deer." In fact, its leaps of ten to twelve feet at a time are truly remarkable, and have occa- 
sioned it to be called the Jumping Mouse. In these leaps, it is of course aided by its long 
tail. We have kept them for some time, when they evinced a timid but gentle disposition, 


sleeping during tlie day, and exceedingly active during the night. They are said to burrow, 
but their nails appear scarcely fitted for this office ; we should rather think that they take 
possession of vacant burrows, or accidental cavities. They have often been noticed in 
ploughed grass lands, where the sods of the furrows, by lapping over each other, form long 
and convenient cavities, in which they make their nests. Mr. Jesse Booth, of Orange county, 
writes to me, that " in cross-ploughing some years since, my attention was taken up by see- 
" ing some small thing move off from near my plough, at about the moderate walk of a man. 
" It went over ridges and descended the hollows of the furrows, bearing some resemblance to 
" an old withered oak leaf. I pursued it, when it proved to be one of these wood-mice, or 
"jumping mice; a female, with four young ones attached by their mouths to its teats." 
The same gentleman informs me, that " although abundant in his neighborhood, they do very 
" little damage in the grain fields. They are never seen in the clear daylight, unless dis- 
" turbed. I once saw two of them," he adds " between sunset and dark, jumping up in 
" rapid succession, and making a chirping noise like sparrows." 

It feeds on the roots of grass, grain, seeds, etc. ; but its injuries to man must be inconside- 
rable. If we are right in supposing all the descriptions as applicable to one species, our Deer- 
mouse has a considerable geographical range, extending from 62° north to 40°. It has been 
noticed by Say at the base of the Rocky Mountains. 


Body covered ivith two sets of hair, a fine soft down and long subrigid hairs. Tail flattened, 
and covered with rounded or hexagonal scales. Hind feet longest. Ears short. Aquatic. 
Social. Some species tvith webbed feet ; all ivith a musky smell, arising from glands near 
the anus. 


Tail broad, oval, flattened horizontally. Molars sixteen. Toes of the hind feet completely 
luebbed. Teats four. 


Castor fiber. 

PLATE XX. FIG. 1. — PLATE VIIl. FIG. ), A & B. Skull. 

Castor fiber. LiN. 12 Ed. p. 78. 

Pond Dog. JossELYN, Voyages, p. 92. 

Beaver Castor. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 98. 

C. fiber. Long's Exped. Vol. 1, p. 46. Harlan, Fauna, p. 122. GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 105, figure. 

C. {fiber) americanus. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 105. 

The Beaver. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 51. 

Characteristics. Bay or yellowish brown. Length two to three feet. Tail scaly, naked, oval. 


Description. Body thick and clumsy, enlarging gradually from the head backwards. Head 
broad and conical, flattened above. Nose large and obtuse, divided, furnished with strong 
whiskers. Eyes small and black. Ears short, rounded, and almost concealed in the fur. 
Neck short and thick. Fore feet small and short, with separate toes ; the five claws stout 
and compressed, the central one longest, the outer and inner shortest. Hind feet with elon- 
gated soles ; the toes connected throughout their whole length by a stout membrane. Tail 
broad, flattened, rather pointed at the end, and (except at its origin, where it is furnished for 
some distance with short hair,) it is covered with sub-hexagonal scales, not imbricated, with a 
few scattering hairs in the interstices. Incisors very robust, smooth, flat and yellowish in front, 
rounded and white behind. Molars above directed backward and outward ; of the lower jaw, 
forward and inward. The surfaces of the molars represent elliptical and irregular figures, 
caused by the foldings of the enamel ; they are almost impossible to describe except by 
figures, and must change with age and continued trituration. The fur consists of two sorts ; 
one composed of long, stiff and elastic hairs, the other of a fine soft down. Glandular sacs 
containing castoreum, or a strong rtiusky grease or unctuous substance, near the anus. 

Color. The long and coarse hair chesnut brown ; the downy fur beneath, light plumbeous 
or silver grey. There are occasional varieties, entirely black, or wholly black or mottled. 

Length of head and body, 24 ' - 36 • 0. 

Ditto of tail, 8-0- 12-0. 

The Beaver, whose skins once formed so important an article of commerce to this State, 
as to have been incorporated in the armorial bearings of the old Colony, is now nearly extir- 
pated within its limits. The skins of this animal even constituted a certain standard of 
value, and were a portion of the circulating medium. Thus, in 1697, we find that Governor 
Fletcher made a certain gi'ant of a tract of land on the Mohawk, and the consideration named 
in the deed was one beaver skin for the first year, and five annually forever after. According 
to a letter from the Dutch West India Company, preserved in the Albany Records, we learn, 
that in 1624, 400 beaver and 700 otter skins were exported; the number increased in 1635, 
to 14,891 beaver and 1,413 otter skins ; and the whole number in the ten years was 80,183 
beavers and 7,347 otters, amounting in value to 72.5,117 guilders. In the same letter, the 
directors complain that beavers have become exceedingly scarce ; having been sold at .seven 
guilders a piece, and even more. One of the earliest legislative enactments by the rulers of 
the Colony, was in reference to the peltry trade ; and I notice in the same records alluded to 
above, that William De Kay, the ancestor of the writer, was appointed receiver of the duties 
on beaver and bear skins. 

I am informed by Mr. T. O. Fowler, that in 1815, a party of St. Regis Indians from Canada 
ascended the Oswegatchie river in the county of St. Lawrence, in pursuit of beaver. In con- 
sequence of the previous hostilities between this country and England, this district had not 
been hunted for some years, and the beaver had consequently been undisturbed. The party, 
after an absence of a few weeks, returned with three hundred beaver skins. These were 
seen by my informant, who adds that since that time very few have been observed. 

F.\UNA. 10 


In the summer of 1840, wc traversed those ahiiost interminable forests on the highlands 
separating the sources of the Hudson and the St. Lawrence, and included in Hamilton, Her- 
kimer and a part of Essex counties. In the course of our journey we saw several beaver 
signs, as they are termed by the hunters. The Beaver has been so much harassed in this 
State, that it has ceased making dams, and contents itself with making large excavations in 
the banks of streams. Within the past year, (1841,) they have been seen on Indian and 
Cedar rivers, and at Paskungameh or Tupper's lake ; and although they arc not numerous, 
yet they are still found in scattered families in the northern part of Hamilton, the southern 
part of St. La^vl■ence and the western part of Essex counties. Through the considerate 
attention of Mr. A. Mclntyre, those yet existing in the southern part of Franklin county are 
carefully preserved from the avidity of the hunter, and there probably the last of the species 
in the Atlantic States will be found. We noticed the remains of an old and large beaver dam 
at the outlet of Lake Fourth in Herkimer county, but it is now nearly covered up by the 
drift sand from the lake. 

The Beaver exercises great ingenuity in the construction of its dwelling ; but this ingenuity 
has been much exaggerated, and perhaps no animal has served for the foundation of so many 
fables. The instinct of self-preservation is doubtless very strong, and its sagacity is such, 
that were it not for tiie signs near its abode made evident by the stout twigs and trees gnawed 
and cut down, it would never be discovered. Whenever these chips are noted, the wary 
hunter proceeds to examine the bank, in order to detect at what particular spot the beaver 
takes to the water. The castor bags of the beaver, or barkstone, as it is termed by the hun- 
ters, is then rubbed on twigs near the spot, and a common steel trap is so placed under the 
water as to spring when the animal dives against it. 

The Beaver is strictly a nocturnal animal, and is exceedingly active in its movements. It 
advances on land by a series of successive leaps of ten or twelve feet, in which it is powerfully 
assisted by its tail, which it brings down with a resounding noise. It brings forth from two 
to four at a birth. It feeds chiefly upon the roots of aquatic plants, and the bark of soft- 
wooded trees, such as the birch, poplar, willow and alder. We have been assured by hunters 
that thev also feed on fish ; and for this, their aquatic abodes and habits would appear well 
adapted. It may be, that in the selection of tlieir dwellings, they design to protect themselves 
against carnivorous animals. 

The geographical range of the Beaver, now so much restricted, once extended from the 
sixty-eighth to the thirtieth parallel. In the United States, its southern boundary does not 
extend beyond the districts already mentioned in the State of New- York. 

It has been attempted to separate the Beaver of Europe and America into two species. We 
coincide entirely with Cuvier, who made the most scrupulous comparisons, and was unable to 
ascertain the existence of any specific differences. 




plate xix. fig. 3, a, b. 

C. (Trogonthcrmm?) ohioense. This species, which belonged to an animal nearly six feet in length, 
is founded on the lower jaw of the right side, found near Nashport, Licking county, Ohio, and now 
in the Zanesville Atheneum. From a cast in the Cabinet of the Lyceum, we are enabled to give 
the following dhnensions : Length, in a straight line, from the posterior part of the lower jaw to the 
tip of the incisor, 9 -5 ; length of the denuded incisor, following its curve, 9 -5 ; of its bevelled tip, 
1 • 6 ; breadth of the same, • 6 ; breadth of molars, 0-5. The incisor is traversed through its whole 
length on its anterior and exterior surface, by deep parallel longitudinal grooves. The molars are 
nearly equal, the penultimate smallest. In some respects, it appears allied to Hystrix. It is, as far 
as we know, the first instance of the discovery of a fossil of this order m America, and is certainly 
one of the largest kno\vn. In the loose strata near the Sea of Azof in the neighborhood of Tagan- 
rok, a skull has been foimd, which was at first attributed to the Beaver, and which bears a strong 
resemblance to our specimen. Mr. Fischer has described it as the type of a new genus, which he 
calls Trogontherium, but I have not been able to find his description. For further particulars in 
relation to the Ohio specimen, see the American Journal, Vol. 31, p. 80, (figure ) 

GENUS FIBER. Illiger: 

Tail long, narrow, pointed and vertically compressed. Molars twelve, the crowns exhibiting 
sections of triangular prisms. Toes of the hind feet partially ivebbed. Teats six. 


Fiber zibethicus. 


Castor zibethicus. Linn. 12 Ed. p. 79. 

Musk Beaver. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 106. 

Fiber zibethicus. Haklan, Faun. p. 132. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 58, figure. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, 

p. 115. 
Muskrtd. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 54. 

Characteristics. Dark brown above, tinged with reddish ; greyish beneath. Length eighteen 
to twenty inches. 

Description. Body robust and thickset. Head short, somewhat arched above. Muzzle short 
and obtuse, with rigid whiskers on each side. Eyes small and black. Ears low, rounded, 
broader than high, covered with hair, and nearly concealed in tlic fur. Neck short and indis- 
tinct. Fore feet short, with five claws, and covered with short glossy hairs to the bases of the 
nails, which are short, compressed and slightly curved ; the thumb distinct, and furnished 


Avith a long nail. Hind feet long, the soles margined with long whitish hairs ; inner and outer 
toes shortest, subequal ; the three others much longer, and the two middle ones united by a 
short web. Claws moderate, slightly convex, and channelled beneath ; a row of stout and 
coarse bristles on the edges of the toes. Tail vertically compressed, thin on the edges, slightly 
wider beyond the middle, tapering gradually to its acute tip ; its surface is covered with small 
rounded scales, not concealed by the sparse white hairs. The fur consists of a fine dense 
down, resembling that^of the beaver, but not so fine ; this is intermixed with longer subrigid 
hairs. Upper incisors large, yellowish, slightly rounded, and without gi-ooves ; the lower 
rounded, longer and more pointed. The molars resemble in their structure those of the suc- 
ceeding family, but have distinct roots. 

Color. Dark brown above, intermixed with reddish on the sides of neck and body. Chin, 
throat and posterior parts of the abdomen gi-eyish or dark ash. Edges of the tail darker than 
the rest. Occasional varieties are found entirely black, wholly white, or varied with black and 

Total length, 18-0 -20-0. 

Tail alone, 7-0- 10-0. 

The Musquash or Muskrat is so called from its strong musky odor, which is secreted from 
glands near the anus. It is a well-known inhabitant of our swamps and low grounds, and 
generally in every place in the vicinity of water. Although it establishes its abode often in 
the vicinity of man, its watchfulness is so great that it often escapes his snares. As might be 
inferred from its structure, its movements on land are awkward and slow, but it swims and 
dives with great ease in the water. It is a nocturnal animal, feeding on the roots of aquatic 
plants, and is said to be particularly fond of the calamus root (C. acorus). It is also extremely 
fond of the fresh-water muscle ( Unio), heaps of which, in a gnawed and comminuted state, 
may be found near their retreats. They form extensive holes or burrows in banks, and some- 
times build small conical hillocks, in which they live and rear their young. The injuries 
which they occasion to artificial embankments by their burrows, which gradually render tlieni 
pervious to water, are well known. 

The geographical range of the Musquash is very extensive, being found from 30° to 69° 
north latitude. From some causes with which we are unacquainted, the Musquash, according 
to Bartram, is not seen in the alluvial of Carolina and Georgia, although it occurs much fur- 
ther south at a distance from the coast. In this State the skins sell for twenty-five cents apiece, 
and are extensively used in the fabrication of hats. 



Clavicles rudimentary or none. Body armed with rigid sharp spines, intei-mixed with hair. 
Molars sixteen ; their summits fiat, with ridges of enamel. Tail various, sometimes armed 
with sjjines. Tongue with spiny scales. 

Obs. Tliis group, which is founded on the old genus Hystrix, comprises five genera, 
founded on tlie predominance of hair or spines, and the shape and armature of tlie tail. 


Head robust, short, with an obtuse snout and cleft upper lip. Ears short and rounded. 
Eyes s?nall. Anterior feet with four toes, posterior with five, all armed with robust curved 
- claws. Spines nearly concealed in the hair. Tail prehensile. 


Hystrix hcdsonics. 

PL.4.TE XXVI. FIO. 1. — PLATE vni. FIG. 2, a, B, c. TEETH AND Skull. 

Hystrix hudsonuis. Brisson, Rcgnum Animale, p. 128. 

H. dorsata. LiN. 12 Ed. p. 57. 

Canada Porcupine. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 109. 

H. dorsata. Erileben, p. 345. 

H. cristata. LosKIEL, p. 84. 

Canada Poraipine. Sabixe, Franklin's Joumey, p. 664. 

Erethizon dorsatum. F. Cuv. Mem. Mus. Vol. 9, p. 413. 

Canada Porcupine. CozzENS, Ann. Lye. Nat. Hist. New-York, Vol. 1, p. 190., Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 150, 

Hystrix pilosus. EiCHAHDSON, F. B. A. Vol.1, p. 214. Doughty, Cab. Nat. Hist. Vol.1, p. 241, pi. 21. Griffith, 

R^gne Animal of Cuvier, Vol. 3, p. 206, figure. 
Porcupine. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 71. 

Characteristics. Varying from dull brown to black. Tail moderate, thick, prehensile. Length 
two to three feet. 

Description. Body robust, thickset, with its dorsal outline arched. Head moderate, conic, 
with the nose truncated, broad, and flattened above. Ears short and rounded, almost entirely 
hidden in the fur. Eyes small and black. Legs very short, with oval palms on the fore feet ; 
four very short toes, armed with long, curved, compressed, blackish claws, grooved beneath, 
the outer somewhat the smaller. Hind feet with five subequal claws. Fur long and coarse, 
especially on the back, sides and posterior parts. The great and striking peculiarity of this 
animal consists in the quills or spines, which are intermixed with the hair, capable of being 
erected at the will of the animal, and are so loosely adherent as to be detached upon the 
slightest touch. These arc cylindrical, tapering at both ends to an acute point. They vary 


in length from half an inch to three inches, and are white with black tips, or entirely white. 
When examined with a lens, they are found to be covered with minute barbs, imbricated, and 
pointed towards the base. On the crown of the head and neck, these are short, thick and 
numerous ; on the shoulders and anterior part of the back, they are few, slender and flexible ; 
on the posterior part of the back, and on the thighs, they are very long, strong and numerous. 
The upper part of the tail is also furnished with smaller spines. The young have long white 
hairs in place of spines. 

Teeth. In the upper jaw, the incisors are very strong, flattened in front abruptly, and bevelled 
behind ; the portion within the sockets three-sided, nearly two inches long, describing the 
segment of a circle nearly two inches in diameter ; the bottom of the socket readies beneath 
the socket of the posterior molar. The first, third and fourth molars nearly equal, the second 
smallest. The anterior molar with three large and irregular diverging prongs, of which the 
internal is broad and largest ; the crown with five cavities separated by waving plates of 
enamel, the posterior exterior cavity smallest, oval. The second molar small, with four 
cavities on the crown, resembling in shape the two posterior molars ; but the internal oblique 
cavity becomes gradually effaced in the posterior molar, by the absence or rather subsidence 
of the internal wall. The fangs of this second molar are also three in number, with a tendency 
in the two outer to become double ; in the two last, the prongs are increased to three. In the 
lower jaw, the incisors are 2' 7 long, and reach beneath the root of the posterior molars ; they 
project farther from the jaw than those of the upper jaw, and describe an arc of a larger circle ; 
the bevelled portion is also much longer. The molars are similar in size and configuration 
above, except the second, which is smaller. They have all four cavities, three of which are 
regularly bounded by plates of enamel, and the external cavity deficient on its outer margin. 
The anterior molar with three prongs, of which the anterior is largest ; the whole periphery 
of the crowns surrounded by a plate of enamel, including the plates which bound each cavity. 
With age, the whole surface is ground down, leaving no vestige of cavity. The molars of 
the upper jaw incline outwards ; of the lower, inwards. 

Color. Usually dark brown, intermixed with black ; the females are said to be of a darker 
browit. They are often hoary, and occasionally entirely white. The tail is brown above and 
beneath, with a few whitish hairs along its margin and at its tip. 

Length of head and body, 24*0. 

Ditto of the tail, 6-0. 

Ditto of the skull, 4-0. 

The Porcupine is an inoffensive animal, and very gentle in its manners. It feeds on the 
leaves and bark of the hemlock (Pinus canadensis), the basswood (Tibia glabra), and the ash 
(Fraxinus sambucifolia). It is also fond of sweet apples, maize, and will scarcely refuse any 
vegetable off'ered to them in confinement. They move very sluggishly, dragging their tail on 
the ground. When irritated, they make a faint whining noise, and by a strong cuticular 
muscle the spines of the back and sides are erected and extended in various directions ; the tail 


IS also erected, and by a very sudden movement he is enabled to strike, leaving the loosened 
spines in the body of his opponent. From their peculiar structure, they penetrate at every 
movement until they reach a vital part. Hence it is rarely attacked, although the hunters 
easily kill it by a blow on its nose. The Indians esteem its flesh, which resembles young 
pork very highly. It dwells in hollow trees, or in caves under rocks, and is said to bring forth 
two at a litter in April or May. The spines are employed extensively by the Indians, after 
having been dyed of various colors, to form ornaments for their dresses. 

The Porcupine is found as far north as 67°. It is found in all the Northern States; in 
New- York, Pennsylvania, the northern parts of Virginia, Kentucky, and through the western 
regions to the Rocky Mountains. In tliis State, more particularly in the northern and western 
counties, they are quite numerous. The first name given in accordance with the binary sys- 
tem, is that proposed by Brisson, and by the law of priority it must be restored. 


Clavicles robust, and fully developed. Fur not uniformly soft, hut without spines or rigid 
hairs. Molars usually six above and six beneath, but various. Some of the genera are 
provided loitli cheek pouches. Tail cylindrical, usually naked or sparsely haired, of 
various lengths. Mostly coinposed of small burroiving animals. 

This family comprises numerous species, which are confessedly difScult to group together 
by common characters. They may, however, be divided into two great sections, characterised 
by the presence or absence of cheek pouches. Under those with cheek pouches, we arrange 
the genera Geomys and Diplosto?)ia. The other division embraces the genera Mus, Arvicola, 
Sigmodon, Neotoma, Georychus, and Aplodontia. The field for discovery in this family is still 
far from being exhausted. The representatives of only three genera are found in this State. 

GENUS MUS. Linneus. 

Molars six above and six beneath, with tuberculous summits. Tail scaly, nearly naked, 
longer or nearly as long as the body. Ears usually naked or slightly furred. 

Obs. Three of the species have been introduced. 

THE BROWN RAT.— (Introduced.) 


Mus decumanus. Pallas. 

Brown Rat. Penn. Arct. Zool Vol. 1, p. 130. 

Common Brovm or Nonvay liat. GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 7S. 

Broim Rat. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 141. Emmons, M.iss. Report, 1810, p. G3 

Cliaracteristics . Grayish brown above, tinged witli yellow ; beneath whitish. Tail not 
quite as long as the body, and with 180 rings. . Length 19 - 20 inches. 


Description. Body robust. Ears rounded, as broad as long, and nearly naked. Eyes 
black, large and prominent. Tail naked and scaly, with a short hair under each ring ; it is 
sometimes as long as the body, but usually shorter. 

Color. Hair dusky ash at the roots, yellowish with a reddish tinge at the tips, intermixed 
with longer hairs of a uniform brown, from which results a yellowish gray brown color above. 
Beneath, soiled white, inclining to cinereous. Feet pale flesh-color. 

Length of head, 2'5. 

Ditto of body, 9-0. 

Ditto of tail, 8-5. 

This well known and dreaded pest of our dwellings came originally from Asia. It appeared 
in Europe about the beginning of the seventeenth century. It is believed to have been 
imported into England with its Hanoverian race of kings. In this country, it was introduced 
with the foreign mercenaries during the revolutionary war. They are now numerous in all 
the States, and have extended to Canada. It takes to the water, and swims with great ease. 
In cities it infests the wharves, and hence is frequently known as the Dock Rat. The name 
decumanus, we apprehend, was not given on account of its size {decimanus), but from decic- 
■manus, in allusion to the tithe of every thing taken by this voracious animal. (See Cicero 
contra Verres.) 

The Rat is a bold, voracious and cunning animal, and appears to be as fond of flesh as of 
vegetables. It brings forth twelve to sixteen at a litter. The best mode of destroying them 
is said to be, mixing plaster of jsaris largely with dry flour ; this will harden in the stomach, 
and destroy them in a short time. Another mode is to mix powdered nux vomica witli indian 
meal, and add a few drops of oil of rhodium to the mixture. Arsenic is frequently employed, 
but is objectionable on account of the fatal accidents to which it frequently gives rise. 

THE BLACK nAi:.—{Iatroduccd.) 


Mxcs rattus. LiNN. 12 Ed. p. 83. 

Black Rat. Pennant, Arct. Zoology, Vol. 1, p. 129. Harlan, Fauna Americana, p. 148., Am. Nat. Hist. 
Vol. 2, p. 83. RICIIAEDSON, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 140. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. C3. 

Characteristics. Greyish black above ; ash-colored beneath. Tail somewhat longer than the 
body. Length 15-16 inches. 

Description. Head long ; muzzle more acute than in the preceding species ; lower jaw very 
short. Ears oval, broad and naked, nearly half as long as the head. Whiskers long. Fore 
feet with four toes, and a claw in j^lace of thumb. Tail longer than the body, and covered 
with scales in the form of rings. Feet plantigrade. Mammae twelve. 

Color. Deep iron-grey or greyish black above ; lighter beneath, usually cinereous. Feet 
and tail dusk}', with white hairs covering the tops of the feet. 


Length of the head, . 1'5. 

Ditto of body, 5"5. 

Ditto of tail, 7-9. 

This animal is also supposed to have originally been derived from Europe, and thence trans- 
mitted to America. It is smaller than the preceding, and is generally thought to have disap- 
peared before it ; at any rate, it is now exceedingly rare. It is said to breed several times in 
the year, producing from six to twelve at a litter. Like the preceding, it is omnivorous. 


Mds americanus. 
plate xxi. fig. i. — (collection of j. g. bell.) 

Characteristics. Black above, leaden beneath. Ears higher than broad. Tail shorter than 
the body. Length 15 inches. 

Description. Ears large, dilated and rounded, almost entirely naked, sparsely furnished 
with short hairs. Whiskers black, numerous, extending to the hind head. Fore feet feeble, 
with five tubercles on the soles. Claws horn-colored, small, acute, incurved ; the toe next 
to the internal longest. Hind feet with four tubercles arranged quadrilaterally ; toes longer 
and more robust than on the fore feet; claws stouter, and not so much incurved. Muzzle 
bifid. Nostrils lateral. Tail cylindrical, tapering regularly to the tip : the amiulations about 
a hundred and forty, covered sparsely with short hairs, which extend 0*2 beyond the tip. 

Teeth. In the lower jaw, the incisors are longer than those above. The molars gradually 
diminish in size ; the first largest, with two cavities ; the anterior trilobate in front, and sepa- 
rated by a waved transverse ridge from the adjacent tooth ; the second with two smaller ca- 
vities, separated in the same manner. The posterior tooth smallest, with two cavities, the 
ultimate space rounded. 

Color. Above uniformly black, the fur at the base slightly fulvous ; beneath, of a uniformly 
leaden hue. Incisors yellowish. Fore toes whitish, with a rufous tinge on the inside. 

Length of head, 2-4. Height of ear, 0-75. 

Ditto of body, 7-0. Width of ditto, 0-45. 

Ditto of tail, 6'0. Girth of body at shoulders, 7 '00. 

We cite no synonimes, as we believe the species to have been either unobserved, or con- 
founded with the imported Black Rat of Europe. It is very rare. The only specimen I have . 
ever seen was brought to me in a recent state by Mr. John Bell, when the fur was distinctly 
black. After having been mounted for several months, the fur assumed a more brownish hue. 
It appears to differ from the decwnanus in its teeth, the number of its aiuiulations, position of 
the mouth, and proportion of its ears ; from the rattus, in its dentition, relative length of ears, 
and tail. 

Fauna. 1 1 




3Ius mvsculus. LiN. 12 Ed. p. 83. 

Mouse. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 131. SkY, Long's Ejtped. Vol. 1, p. 262. H.4RLAN, p. 149. Godman, Am. Nal. 
Hist. Vol. 2, p. 84. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 62. 

Characteristics. Dusky grey above, with a slight tinge of yellow ; beneath ash grey. Ears 
about half the length of the head. Tail nearly as long as the body. 

This familiar little species has also been introduced from Europe into this country, since 
its discovery. It has every where followed the footsteps of man, and is now extended to our 
most western settlements. It breeds several times, or what is more probable, at various sea- 
sons of the year, bringing forth from six to ten at a litter. It may be treated rather as a trouble- 
some than as an extensively injurious animal. It is omnivorous, and lives equally on flesh 
and vegetables ; apparently, however, preferring the latter. 


Mns LEucopus. 


The Rttslic Mouse. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. 

Mus leucopiis. RicHAKDSoN, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 142. 

Arvicoh anmorijii. Emmons, Mass. Report, p. 61. 

Characteristics. Brownish above ; feet and all beneath white. Ears large. Tail hairy, as 
long or longer than the body. Length six inches. 

Description. Head rather large, with a pointed muzzle. Eyes moderate. Ears large, 
rounded above, membranous and naked on the upper margin within and without. Whiskers 
numerous, blackish brown at the base, whitish at the tips, longer than the head. Fore feet 
four-toed, with five tubercles ; the thumb is rudimentary, not furnished with a claw. Hind 
feet an inch and a half long, with five toes, and with short, feeble and curved claws nearly 
concealed by long white hairs. Tail slender, hairy, subquadrate, slightly tapering. Incisors 
not grooved. Molars tuberculated, the first in each jaw largest ; they gradually diminish in 
size to the most posterior, which, when worn, presents a circular disk on the crown, and is 
scarcely tuberculated. Fur fine and rather long. 

Color. Light reddish brown above, intermixed with some entirely black hairs along the 
back, which gives to that region a much darker appearance. The light reddish fur above is 
dark slate at the roots ; it is separated from the light color beneath by a tolerably well defined, 
and occasionally a darker line. All beneath, including the feet, the anterior, inner and poste- 
rior parts of the thighs, and the inferior and lateral portions of the tail, pure white. This 
color is plumbeous at the base. 


Total length, 6-0. Length of hind feet, 1-5. 

Length of head, 1"0. Ditto of whiskers, 1-5. 

Ditto of body, 2'5. Ditto of tail, 2-5. 

Ditto of fore feet, • 8. 

This little mouse, from the distribution of its colors, and its slender proportions, has a deli- 
cate and beautiful appearance. It is very agile, jumping in the manner of the deer-mouse ; 
and is called, in common with that animal, the jumping moicse. It seems to prefer forests 
and wooded places, but is often found in meadows or cultivated grounds, where grain and 
seeds of grasses abound. When this mouse was first submitted to me, I referred it to the M. 
agrarius of Godman ; but upon consulting tlie original description, it was plainly evident that 
it could not be referred to that species, although Godman evidently had the jumping mouse in 
view when he drew up his description.* T had not at that time the work of Richardson to 
refer to, and hastily pronouced it to be new, giving it the name of emmonsi, after the eminent 
naturalist who had first brought it to my notice. 

The Jumping Mouse is found in every part of the State, and is said to build its nest in trees. 
In the northern regions, according to Richardson, it becomes an inmate of the dwellings at 
the fur establishments, and makes hoards of grain in various places, such as the pocket of a 
coat, a shoe, etc. We have never heard of its entering dwellings in the cultivated portions of 
our State, but this is probably owing to the presence of the cat, or of rats. It is found from 
Hudson's Bay to Pennsylvania, and through the Western States to the mouth of Columbia 


Grinders flat on their crowns, the enamel forming angular ridges on the surface. Ears 
furry. Tail round and liaii-y, shorter than the body. 

Obs. This genus, which was fii'st separated from Mus by Lacepede, comprises many 
species known under the vague names of Field Mice and Field Rats ; all, however, differ- 
ing from the Mice proper, by the structure of their teeth, and the length and hairy covering 
of the tail. The species are numerous in the United States, but have not yet been sufficiently 
observed and discriminated. 

♦ According to Erxleben, p. 398, the agrarius has small ears, a constant black line on the back, the thumb with a nail, tail half 
the length of the body, etc. 





Arvkola ripanus. OrD, Acad. Sc. Philnd. Vol. 4, p. 305. 
Marsh Campagnol. GoDBUN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 67. 

Characteristics. Glossy, tawny brown above ; light plumbeoii.s beneath. Tail less than half 
the length of the head and body. Length three to three and a half inches. 

Descrij)tion. Body short and robust, more particularly about the shoulders. Head large. 
Muzzle elongated, truncate at its extremity. Eyes distinct, and • 3 distant from the end of 
the muzzle. Mouth beneath, not terminal. Whiskers numerous, white, and 0'6 long. 
Ears distinct, broad, subacute, and lined within and without with long hairs extending beyond 
the margins ; this, together with the long fur surrounding them, almost conceals them from 
observation. All the feet very short and slender. Fore feet 0-6 long, and clothed with short 
adpressed hairs ; the claws small, acute, curved, channelled beneath, and dilated at their 
bases ; the thumb rudimentary, and furnished with a short triangidar claw ; the two middle 
toes longest, subequal. Hind feet placed very far back, 0'8 long, and clothed with short 
rigid adpressed hairs, extending to the tips of the nails ; the three middle toes subequal. 
Tail very slender, equal throughout, subquadrate, not flattened, scaly, with short hairs 
scarcely concealing the scales, and extending about 0"2 beyond the vertebrae; not forming, 
however, a tuft, as is erroneously given in the plate. Fur rather fine and soft, 0"2 long on 
the upper part of the body. The nose, jaws and chin furnished with short hair. 

Teeth. The upper incisors short, scarcely higher than broad ; their flat, chisel-shaped points 
directed towards each other, and their bases somewhat diverging. The lower incisors slender, 
0' 13 in length above their sockets, cylindrical, pointed, and directed forwards horizontally. 
The anterior and posterior molars smallest, and all with zigzag lines of enamel ; the middle 
molar is composed of four flattened prisms. 

Color. Above a glossy tawny brown, plumbeous at the base, intermixed with others longer 
and totally black. Chin and all beneath, leaden grey. Feet dark brown ; soles black. Tail 
deep blackish brown, imperceptibly passing into a shade lighter beneath. 

Length of head and body, 2".5. 

Ditto of tail, 0-7. 

Total length 3-2. 

The Bank Meadow-mouse of Richardson, which he refers to the riparius of Ord, I cannot 
think is identical with it. It is much larger, being nine inches in total length, and has white 
feet and a flattened tail. The very small size of the specimen which I first obtained, and from 
which the dimensions given above were taken, induced me to suspect that it was new ; but 
later observations on others have satisfied me of its identity with the rijtarius. Mr. Ord gives 


the length of the head and body, five inches ; of the tail, two inches. He states that the 
female has four pectoral and four abdominal teats, and brings forlli eight young at a litter. It 
frequents marshy places, living chiefly on the seeds of plants growing in such localities. It 
burrows in the banks for its retreat, and for rearing its young. 

The Marsh Meadow-mouse is not uncommon in various parts of the State. I have seen 
specimens from Oneida, Seneca and Otsego counties. At present, it is known to extend from 
Delaware Bay to the forty-third degree of north latitude, and it will probably be found in all 
the Eastern States, 


Arvicola rufescens. 

Characteristics. Light reddish brown above ; slate beneath. Tail longer than the head. 
Length 6-7 inches. 

Description. Body robust. Head large, conical, with an arched forehead. Nose bluntly 
pointed ; nostrils bilobate, subterminal, and beset with short, erect and rigid hairs. Mouth 
beneath, the upper lip fringed with short white incurved hairs, and on the cheeks are long 
white bristles. Whiskers as long as the head, brownish, and occasionally whitish at the tips. 
Eyes small and black, nearly equidistant between the ears and muzzle. Ears large, much 
dilated and rounded, covered with long hairs extending beyond the margins. The fur anterior 
to the ear is very long ; and when the ears lie back, although large, they are nearly concealed 
in the fur. Fore feet very slender, ' 8 long, with four separated slender toes, and a rudi- 
mentary thumb furnished with a small nail. Soles with five tubercles, three arranged in a 
triangle, and the two others transversely. Claws curved and retracted at their tips ; external 
toe shortest, the second longest, the two middle subequal. Hind feet placed far back, 1 ■ 1 in 
length ; the internal toe shortest, almost rudimentary, and the claws more broadly channelled 
throughout their entire length. Soles with six tubercles, the external very small. Tail very 
slender, subquadrate, slightly tapering, with sparse rigid hairs scarcely concealing the scales ; 
tip moderately pencilled, not tufted. Fur on the body very soft and glossy, for the most part 
• 3 in length ; the legs are clothed with short adpressed hair, a few white hairs extending to 
the tips of the claws. Upper incisors broad, convex anteriorly, with a medial longitudinal 
furrow, slightly emarginate on their cutting edges ; beneath they are more cylindrical, and 
pointed at their tips. Upper molars with nine external angles ; beneath, the first is largest, 
with a deep lateral sinus. 

Color. The fur on the upper part of the head and body is plumbeous at base, light rufous 
at the tips, intermixed with scattering coarse hairs tipped with black ; hence the resulting color 
is a bright reddish brown. Beneath, bluish white, somewhat more light on the inside of the 
thighs. Muzzle, and the parts adjacent, of a darkish brown hue. Feet light brown. Tail of 
a uniform dark browTi above, cinereous beneath. 


Total length, S'O. 

Length of head and body, - 3"0. 

Length of tail, 2-0. 

It is with hesitation that I venture to consider this animal as new. It will be found to differ 
from riparius by its larger and more arched head, and its dental structure ; from xanthogna- 
thus, to which it bears some resemblance, by its relative dimensions ; from novehoraccnsis of 
Richardson, by the blunt nose and rudimentary thumb ; and from borealis, by its nearly naked 
tail, and comparatively shorter fur. It only remains for us to consider it under a new name, 
at the hazard of swelling the already interminable list of synonimes. 

We have little to add, except that it was itrst obtained from low grounds in the neighborhood 
of Oneida lake. I subsequently found it in great numbers in the forests of Hamilton and St. 
Lawrence counties. It was e.xceedingly active and lively, and frequently seen running along 
on fallen timber. When disturbed, it retreated to its burrow at the roots of trees. It may be 
added, that variations in the length of its tail frequently occur. In specimens of the dimen- 
sions given above, the tail varied from one and a half to two inches. 


Arvicola hirsutl's. 
plate xxv. fig. 2.— (state collection.) 

Meadoio-inouse. Pennant, Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 133. 
Arvicola hirsulus. Emjions, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 60. 

Characteristics. Dark brown above, deep ash beneath. Tail less than half the length of the 
body. Ears membranous, concealed. Length five to five and a half inches. 

Description. Body robust, compact, largest across the fore shoulders, sensibly less over the 
loins. Head pyramidal. Whiskers numerous, scattering, radiated, black and white, some of 
them extending beyond the eyes. Nose flesh-colored, cleft, and covered to its tip with short 
rigid hairs ; nostrils lateral. Eyes small and black, almost hidden in the fur, and about half an 
inch from the nose. Ears large, round, membranous, concealed beneath the fur, apparently 
naked behind, but in fact sparsely furnished with hairs which extend beyond the margins ; 
within naked, except towards the edges ; auricular opening large, and presenting a tripartite 
cavity. Anterior to the ears, the fur is so long, and unites so well with that on the borders of 
the ears, that although they are in fact quite large, they are not obvious ; they are distant about 
an inch and a lialf from the extremity of the nose. Tongue smooth and fleshy, with a longi- 
tudinal furrow. There is a reduplication of the skin posterior to the upper incisors, which is 
furnished with hairs. Three transverse furrows anterior to the molars. Fore feet 0"8 long, 
with four toes, and a thumb furnished with a minute nail ; the remaining toes have white, 
compressed, pointed claws, deeply chamielled beneath ; the external shortest^ the two middle 
ones subequal, the one nearest the thumb being somewhat longest : all the toes with transverse 


scales beneath. Soles with five tubercles. Hind legs 1 '2 in length ; the internal toe shortest, 
and the middle toe slightly longer than the adjacent one on each side ; near their bases, the 
nails are slightly tinged with brown : all the toes have transverse scales on the under side. 
Soles with five distinct tubercles, and another minute one opposite the internal toe. Tail 
moderate, cylindrical, enlarged at the root, scaly, with rather sparse supine hairs, some of 
which extend slightly beyond the vertebra. The whole body covered with an exceedingly 
long and fine fur, standing half an inch high along the back, and slightly less on other parts 
of the body. On the legs the hairs are short, adpressed beneath, and extend beyond the nails. 

Teeth. These correspond very well with the dentition assigned by Fred. Cuvier to the 
Cam^Jagnols, (Dents des Mammiferes, p. 155,) with the following variations : The second 
molar of the upper jaw is composed of five triangles, the posterior space being the largest, 
elongated and sinuous. In the lower jaw, the incisors are not as much rounded on their ante- 
rior surfaces, are more slender, and twice the length of those above. In the first molar are 
tlu-ee internal triangles, of which the posterior is largest ; in the second are an anterior, an 
external, two internal, and a posterior transverse space ; the last molar has tliree irregular 
spaces, the posterior being the largest, transverse and almost semilunate. All are so closely 
united, that a casual observer would be led to suppose that there were many more teeth than 
actually exist. In the broad and dilated processes of the lower jaw, almost concealing the 
teeth, and in the position and shape of the triangular spaces on the crowns of the teeth, we 
have a representation in miniature of similar parts in the Fiber zibethicus already described. 

Color. Above brownish grey, slightly darker on the back, approaching nearly in color to 
the Brown Rat. This color passes into slaty grey on the chin, cheeks and abdomen ; the 
base of the fur, on every part of the body, dark plumbeous. Feet dark brown above, cine- 
reous beneath. Nose flesh-colored. Tail brownish above, lighter beneath, with a few hairs 
fulvous at their base. 

Length of head and body, 5'0. 

" Ditto of tail, -■- 1"9. 

In another specimen the dimensions were, 

Length of head and body, 3*9. 

Ditto of tail (vertebrre), 1'4. 

Ditto ditto (including fur), 1'6. 

This species affords another example of the great difficulty of determining whether it has 
been previously described. A distinguished American naturalist is disposed to refer it to the 
xanthognathus of Leach, (Zool. Miscell. Vol. 1. pi. 26.) It wants, however, the fulvous 
cheeks, and the ears well covered with hair, attributed to that species by Richardson. Upon 
the suggestion that it might possibly be the pensrjlvanicus of Ord and Harlan, it was shovm 
to both those gentlemen, who pronounced it to be totally distinct. We are inclined to believe 
it to be the Meadow-mouse of Pennant, as cited above. His account, concise as it is, agrees 


with our species, except in the very variable and ill-defined character of pencils of hairs on 
the tail. Richardson appears to doubt whether Pennant was not mistaken in the length of 
the tail. He quotes Buffon with a doubt, but he also refers to a specimen in the Leverian 
Museum, from which he probably drew his description. It is very closely allied to the pen- 
sylvanicus of Ord, as described by Richardson. 

The popular name of Beaver Rat or Beaver Mouse, is derived from the abundance and 
fineness of its fur. I am unacquainted with its habits, except that it appears to be nocturnal, 
and quite gentle. It feeds on various grains and shrubs. It is occasionally eaten, and is said 
to be delicate food. It occurs in various parts of the State, and I have received specimens 
also from Connecticut. 



Characteristics. Amber brown above, dark cinereous grey beneath. A triangular thumb 
claw. Hind feet very long. Length 3-4 inches. 

Description. Body moderately robust, and covered with a fine soft fur about 0-2 in length. 
Ears placed very far back, membranous, and nearly hidden in the fur. Eyes moderate and 
black. Muzzle pointed, bifid, truncated, and covered with short rigid hairs. Nostrils lateral. 
Whiskers slender, black, not as long as the head ; numerous black setae over the eyes. Upper 
lip fringed with short, recurved, rigid hairs. Feet very small and slender, not formed for 
digging, covered with short adpressed hairs ; the nails covered with long hairs. Fore feet 
with four slender, separated toes, furnished with short nails, broad at the base, very acute, 
compressed and ciiannelled beneath ; thumb small, and furnished with a short triangular nail. 
Hind feet nearly twice the length of the fore feet, the fur concealing more than two-thirds of 
the tibia ; five-toed, the toes somewhat longer, and the nails sliglitly stcTuter, but broadly chan- 
nelled beneath, and not so much incurved as those on the fore feet ; inner toe shortest, the 
three next subcqual, the outer longer than the inner toe. Tail slender, subequal throughout, 
sparsely covered with rigid adpressed hairs ; the articulations not concealed, and slightly pen- 
cilled at the tip. Upper incisors very short. 

Color. Above brown or dark mouse-color, with a slight intermixture of tawny. At the base 
the fur is dark slate, and on tlie upper part of the head and body, and on the sides, with tawTiy 
tips ; mixed with these are longer and uniformly black hairs. Incisors yellow. Muzzle and 
chin ashen gray. Beneath, tlie fur is light slate at the base, grey at the tips, from whence 
results a general light blue grey beneath. Feet with short, stiff, uniform brownish black 
hairs. Nails light horn marked with brown. 

Total length, 4-5. Length of fore legs, 0-4. 

Length of tail, r 3. Ditto of hind legs, • 7. 

Ditto of head and body, . . 3-2. 


This species is common in the western part of the State. My specimens were obtained 
from the neighborhood of Oneida lake. It appears to prefer moist places. 


Arvicola albo-rufescens. 
plate xxiv. fig. 1. — (collection of prof. emmons.) 

Arvicoh albo-rufescens. E.MMONS, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 60. 

Characteristics. Light yellowish above, lighter beneath. Length five inches. 

Description. Body compact. Head conical, moderate, with a slightly convex outline. 
Muzzle promihent, and furnished on each side with two series of light brownish bristles, 
extending as far back as the ears. Eyes small and black. Nostrils lateral, with a dividing 
furrow. Ears membranous, large and rounded, with hairy margins and a broad auditory 
opening. Fore feet feeble, and clothed with short subrigid hairs e.xtending to the tips of the 
nails, with a thumb tubercle, furnished with a rudimentary nail. All the nails nearly straight, 
slightly incurved. Hind feet longer, and clothed in the same manner with short hairs ; five- 
clawed, the three medial subequal. Tail slender, scaly, sparsely covered with rigid hairs, a 
few of them extending 0"15 beyond the tips. In cabinet specimens, the desiccation of the 
tail gives it a somewhat nodulous appearance. Upper incisors short, yellow, and convex in 
front ; lower incisors long and rounded. Upper molars broad and angular in front, narrow 
and more rounded behind. In the lower jaw, the anterior molar is composed of six plates of 
enamel ; the middle, of four ; and the posterior, which is smallest, of three plates. 

Color. All the upper part of the head and body, and the sides, drab, with a tinge of reddish ; 
beneath greyish, with a tinge of sulphur yellow. All the fur white at base. Feet and tail 
brownish, the latter cinereous beneath. « 

Length of head and body, . 3*08. Length of fore legs, 0-6. 

Ditto of tail (vertebrae), 1.03. Ditto of hind legs, 1"0. 

Ditto of ears, 0-25. 

For an opportunity of examining this animal, I am indebted to Prof. Emmons, who obtained 
it on its form or nest, with another of the same shape and color. The color of its eyes renders 
it probable that it was not an albino. It appears to be very rare. 

Faun.4. 12 



Arvicola xanthognathus. 


Arvkoln xanthognathus. Leach, Zool. Miscell. Vol. 1, p. CO, pi. 20. 
Camjiagnol aux jaues fauvcs. Desm. Mammalogie, p. 2S2. 
The Meadow-mouse. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 65. 
Yellow-cheeked Meadow-mouse. Rich. F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 122. 

Characteristics. Reddish brown above, greyish beneath ; cheeks fulvous. Tail not as long 
as the liead. Length 8 to 10 inches. 

Description. Body robust, cyhndrical. Ears half an inch high in the largest individuals, 
rounded, sparsely hairy within, well furred externally. . Whiskers numerous, longer than the 
head. -Muzzle somewhat blunt. Fore legs covered with short adpressed hairs, a few extend- 
ing beyond the nails ; four toes, and a vestige of thumb with a nail ; the other nails are 
slightly curved and feeble. Hind feet five-toed, the three middle subequal. Tail slender, 
slightly less at the tip, covered with numerous adpressed hairs, concealing the scales, and forming 
a point 0-2 beyond the tip. Incisors above short, rounded in front. In the upper jaw the 
posterior molar largest ; below, the largest is the anterior molar. Fur long and soft. 

Color. Above, reddish brown, intermixed with uniformly black hairs ; beneath, bluish ash. 
Sides of the cheeks reddish, more or less distinct. Upper part of the feet and tail dark 
reddish brown, ashen grey or whitish beneath. 

Length of head and body, 7'0. 

Ditto of tail, 1-3. 

This Meadow-mouse is found in various parts of the State. It varies much in size ; and 
Godman, who assigns five inches for its length, probably described from a young individual. 
It burrows in banks, and produces seven or eight at a litter. Its geograpliical range is exten- 
sive. It occurs in the Western States, and extends to the Arctic regions. 


A. pensylvanicus, Ord. (Richardson, p. 124. Wilson, Oni. Vol. 6, pi. .30.) Brown above, beneath 
nearly white; snout obtuse. A blimt hairy tail, half the length of the body. Length 4' -5 inches. 

A. borealis. (Richardson, Zool. Mag. 1828.) Above chesnut mixed with black, grey beneath; a 
strong thumb nail ; cars concealed in the head. Tail as long as the head. Length 5i inches. 
Arctic Regions. 

A. noochoracensis. (Richardson, p. 126.) Above dark bromi, beneath dark grey ; nose acute, slen- 
der ; ears slightly beyond the fur. Tail scaly, sparsely hairy, more than half the length of the 
head. Length 6 inches, Rocktj Mountains. 


A nuttali (Harlan, Med. and Phys. Res; p. 55, plate.) Faw-n color above, white beneath' ears 

large and hairy. Tail nearly as long- as the body. Length 51 inches. Virginia. 
A. pinetorum. (Le Conte, Ann. Lye. Vol. 3, p. 132, plate.) • Dark ash, tipped with browi ; ears 

short, naked, concealed : thumb with a straight nail. Tail round, 0-7 long. Length 3 to 4 inches. 

A. gapperi. (Zool. Journ. Vol. 5, p. 202.) Tail more than half the length of the body; ears short, 

rounded, chesnut above ; face and sides yelloAvish browTi; belly yellowish white: chin and throat 

ashen. - Tail nearly two inches. Length six. An 7ieobofaccnsis? 
A. ferrugineus. (Harlan, Med. and Phys. p. 57.) Rust-colored above, white beneath; fore legs 

short. Tail more than half the length of the body. Length 1 1 inches. Mississippi. 
A. richardsoni, (riparius of Richardson, p. 120.) Dull bro^vnmi.Ycd with black, bluish grey beneath; 

ears moderate, nearly concealed. Tail flat, as long as the head ; feet white. Length 9 inches. 

Arctic Regions. 
A. rubricatus. (Beechey's Appendix.) With a bright red stripe on the flanks. Bekring's Straits. 

Genus Neotoma, Saj/ and Ord. Molars with large roots; the folds of the enamel not descending as 

low as the edge of the alveolar processes. Its other characters similar to the genus Arvicola. 
JV. floridanum. (Ac. Sc. Vol, 4, p. 345, pi. 21.) Plumbeous above, yellowish on the sides; eyes and 

- ears very large. Tail longer than the body. Length 14 inches. Florida. 
N. drummondi. (Richardson, pi. 7.) Yellowish brovni above, white beneath. Tail more bushy 
towards the extremity, longer than the body. Length 16 inches. Rocky Mountains. 

Genus Sigmodon, Say. Molars subequal, with roots; the folds of the enamel representing the letter S. 
iS. hortense. (Harlan, Med. and Phys. pi. Ac. Sc. Vol. 4, pi. 22.) Soiled yellower blackish above, 

beneath cinereous ; ears largo and round. Tail nearly as long as the body. Length 10 inches. 


Genus Georychus, Illiger. Eyes very small; cars rising slightly above the auditory hole; thumb 

obvious ; toes of the fore feet formed for digging. Tail very short. 
G. helvolus. (Richardson, p. 128.) Head black and tawny; body reddish orange, paler beneath. 

Length 5 inches. Northern Regions. 
G. trimibcronatus. (Richardson, p. 130.) Chesnut above ; thumb nail with three projecting points. 

Length 5i inches. Arctic Regions. 
G. fmdsonius. (Id. p. 132.) Dark brown above, bright rusty on the sides; the two middle nails of 

fore feet very large, with a deep notch on the ends; earless. Length 6 inches. Labrador and 

Arctic Regions. 
G. granlandicus. (Id. p. 134.) Earless; a dark dorsal stripe; nails of the forefeet terminating in 

sharp cylindrical points. Length 7 inches. Arctic Regions. 

Genus Aplodontia, Richardson. Molars ten above, eight beneath ; ears short and round ; feet five- 
toed ; nails large, strong and compressed. Tail minute, concealed by the fur. 
A. leporina. (Richardson, p. 211, pi. 18.) Umber brown above, greyish beneath ; legs short; throat 
with a white spot. Tail i an inch. Length 14 inches. Northern Regions, Missouri. 



Genus Geomys, Richardson. Eyes small and far apart; auditory hole small, with a slightly raised 
margin ; molars ten above, ten beneath ; cheek pouches large and pendulous, opening into the 
mouth by the side of the molar teeth. Burrowing. 
G. douglasi. (Richardson, pi. 18.) Diisky brown above, paler beneath. Tail more than half the 

length of the body. Length nine inches. Columbia, River. 
G. umbrinus. (Id. p. 202.) Umber bro^vn above, grey beneath; throat and feet white. Tail grey, 

hairy, as long as the head. Length 9 inches. Louisiana. 
G. talpoidcs. (Id. p. 204.) Greyish black; chin, throat and tail white; hind feet with but four com- 
plete toes. Length nine inches. Hudsoiis Bay. 
G. bulbivorus. (Id. pi. 18, b.) Mouth vertical; a wide pouch on each side, not communicating with 

the cavity of the mouth. Length 14 inches. Columbia River. 
G. bursarius. (Say, Long's Exped. Vol. 1, p. 406. Shaw, pi. 138.) Reddish brown or greyish ; 

upper incisors with a deep groove in the middle. Length 9 to 12 inches. Upper Lakes, Missouri, 

G. borealis. (Bachman, Ac. So. Vol. 8, p. 103.) Pale grey; beneath with feet and tail, white; upper 

incisors scarcely grooved ; ears distinct, not concealed. Length 9i inches. Columbia River. 
G. townsendi. (Id. ib. Vol. 8, p. 105.) Colored as in the preceding; chin pure white; closely allied 

to the preceding. Length 10 inches. Columbia River. 


Body covered with hair alone. Clavicles rudimentary. Ears long and erect. Eyes large 
and prominent. Head long, narrow and compressed. Four upper incisors, {in the young 
six.) Anterior feet with Jive toes, posterior tvith four. Tail short, or none. Timid, 
saving itself hy rapid flight. 

GENUS LEPUS. Linneus. 

Incisors above, four ; the two i?i front large, and grooved ; the two behind, small. Molars 

twelve above, ten beneath, cylindrical, comiwessed, and composed of ttvo vertical soldered 

folds of enamel. Interior of the mouth, and the soles of the feet, furnished with hair. 

Tail short and upturned. Hind legs very long. MammcK six to ten in nuinber. A fold 

of skin in each groin, forming a sort of pouch. 



Lepus nanus. 


Leptts nanus. ScHKEBER, Sauge. Vol. 2, p. 881, pi. 234, fig. E. 

Rabbit. Williams, Nat. and Civil Vermont, p. 91. Belknap, Hist. N. Hampshire, Vol, 3, p. 113. 

L. americanus. DES.MAREST, Mam. p. 351. Haklan, Faun. p. 93., Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 157. 

L. americanus. Bachman, Ac. Sc. Phil. Vol. 7, p. 320. 

X. sylvalicus. Id. ib. Vol. 7, p. 403 ; and Vol. 8, p. 78. 

i. americanus. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 5C. 

Characteristics. Yellowish grey, varied with brown ; throat and abdomen whitish ; in winter, 
the grey color predominates. Ears shorter than the head. Length 15 - 18 

Description. Form typical. Forehead convex. Claws sharp pointed, and nearly straight. 
Upper anterior incisors white, with a deep longitudinal groove near their inner margins ; the 
small incisors behind short, appressed to the anterior incisors, and inserted into the upper 
maxillary. First molar above simple, recurved ; the four succeeding larger, and of nearly an 
equal size, composed of double folds of enamel ; the last simple, cylindrical, directed forwards, 
and scarcely attaining the height of its predecessors. Beneath, the incisors are smooth ; in 
front, long and subqiiadrate. The first molar inclined backwards, grooved before, and with a 
double groove on the outer surface ; the succeeding ones to the last, upright, nearly equal, 
with a single groove and two prominent ridges on their external surfaces ; the last smallest, 
inclined forwards, with a slight groove on the external surface, and the tip exhibits a double 
case of enamel. 

Color. In summer, the general color is yellowisli brown, which becomes more or less rufous 
on the outer surface of the extremities, and on the breast. Margin of the eyes blackish 
brown, and outside of this a circle of yellowish wliite. Throat, and underside of the tail, 
white ; abdomen greyish white. Ears edged with white, and tipped with brown. Fur plum- 
beous at base, and for much of its length. In winter the fur becomes longer, and the upper 
surface of the head and body lighter, occasionally iron grey, but I have never seen it as white 
as is stated by Godman. There may, however, be white varieties, but it cannot be said to 
have two distinct coats of fur. 

Length of head and body, . Ifi-O. Length of the hind legs, . . 10.4. 

Ditto of the head, 3-8. Ditto of the tail, 1-5. 

Ditto of the ears, 3-2. Ditto, including fur, 2- B. 

Weight, 3 - 4 lbs. 

This common and well known species in the United States, has been, until very recently, 
confounded with others. The following description by Schreber, which seems to have been 
overlooked by modern writers, applies remarkably well to our Rabbit ; although, misled by 


the accounts of previous naturalists, he appears to have confounded its history with the fol- 
lowing species : Cheeks full of thick hair. Ears thin externally, with few hairs, naked within, 
and when bent forward, do not reacli the nose ; when bent backwards, they reach the shoulder 
blades. Eyes large and black, with 4-5 bristles above thenn. Whiskers mostly black ; 
some arc white ; the longest appears to reach beyond the head. Color in summer : Ears 
brownish, with a very narrow black border on the outer margin, of the same breadth to the 
tips, or becomes effaced ; brown cheeks, back and sides ; fore and hind legs hght brown 
externally, mixed with black ; all round the breech, while. Feet full of short hair of a light 
brown, unmixed with black, changing towards the inside to a grey white. Upper part of the 
tail like that of the back, (perhaps mixed with black, as Pennant describes it black ;) beneath 
white. Throat white ; lower part of the neck bright brown, mixed with white ; chest and 
belly, inside of fore and hind legs, white. Color in winter, when it does change, white. 

According to Foster, Pennant and Schoepff, the most remarkable distinctions of this species 
are, 1, his size : It. is not by any means as large as the common and changeable hare, and 
scarcely larger than a rabbit ; hence he is frequently called rabbit in America. 2, the pro- 
portion of his legs ; the hind feet being longer, and the fore feet shorter than in the others. 
3, the color and length of ears : it has a black margin outside, but no black mark at the tip, 
and the length is less than that of the common hare. 4, the upper side of the tail is not so 
black as in that species. 5, the color of ils body. 6, its mode of living and habits : It can 
therefore only be a distinct species. Length 18 inches ; tail scarcely more than two. Found 
from Hudson's Bay to Florida. In winter, his short hair changes into a long silky fur, white 
from the roots. The border of the ear, and upper part of the tail, unchanging. In the southern 
part of the State of New-York, and the Southern States, he does not change his color, and 
might therefore be called the half-changing hare. 

The whole history of the habits of this species, and ils abundance, sufficiently confirms the 
fact that Schreber had our Rabbit in view, although he was misled by Schcepff and Pennant, 
and confounded two species. We think that in this latter particular, Erxleben has also been 
in error. 

The American Grey Rabbit changes but little with the season, except that the fur is longer 
and finer, and exhibits a slight tendency to white. Prof. Emmons speaks of having seen them 
distinctly grey in Massachusetts, and Dr. Bachman has seen them in Carolina of a light iron 
grey. It is a timid, inoffensive creature ; and were it not for its excessive vigilance, and its 
astonishing powers of reproduction, would soon be extirpated. Indeed we have reason to 
believe that this actually does happen in certain districts ; when their enemies, having nothing 
to feed upon, also disappear ; and after a certain period, the rabbit again resorts to its former 
haunts, and, undisturbed for some time, increases again in numbers. Beside man, it has 
many other enemies. In the northern and western part of the State, it is the favorite food of 
the two lynxes. It is also destroyed by the New-York weasel, the skunk, and by hawks, 
owls and serpents. 

Its food consists of bark, buds, grass, wild berries, etc. ; and in cultivated districts, it is 
said to enter gardens and destroy vegetables. Unlike its congeners, it does not confine itself 


to the woods, but is frequently found in open fields, or where there is a sliglit copse or 
under-brush. It does not burrow like its closely allied species the European Rabbit, but 
makes its form, which is a slight depression in the ground, sheltered by some low shrub. It 
frequently resorts to a stone wall, or a heap of stones, or a hollow tree, and sometimes to the 
burrow of some other animal. Its habits are nocturnal ; and they may often be seen in the 
morning, or early part of the afternoon, although in retired situations they have been seen at 
all times of the day. Its flesh, though black and dry, is well flavored, although in this. respect 
it varies with the quality of its previous food. It breeds in this State, as I have been informed, 
three times in the season, producing from four to six at a birth. It is the smallest of the 
species found in this State, and so much re'Sembles in its form the European Rabbit, that the 
same popular name has been applied to it, although diflTering in color and some of its habits. 
This, however, is of no consequence, for the name of American or Grey Rabbit is sufficiently 

It has not a wide geographical' range. It is found from New-Hampshire to Florida, but its 
western limits are not yet established. 


Lepus americanus. 


Lcpits aviericanus. ErxlebeiC, Syst. Reg. An. p. 330. 

L. viTgiyiianus, Harlan, Faima Americana, p. 196. .' 

Kvanahilis, y-Ar. GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 164. 

Amerkan Varying Hare. Doughty, Cab. Nat. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 217, pi. 19, (autumnal dress.) Audubon, Ora. Biog. Vol. 2, 

p. 169, pi. 181, (winter dress.) 
L. americanus. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 217, (excl. syn.)- 
L. virginianus. Bachman, Ac. Sc. Vol.7, p. 301. 
L. amtricanus. Id. ib. Vol. 8, p. 76. 

Prairie Hare. E.MMONS, Mass. Report, 1810, p. 58. 

Characteristics. Winter dress wliite, or white tinged with reddish brown. Summer, more 
reddish brown ; beneath white. Ears scarcely shorter than the head. 
•' Larger than the preceding. Length 20 - 25 inches. 

Description. Head short; nose blunt. Eyes large and prominent. Ears broad and appro.\i- 
mated, three and a half inches long. Upper anterior incisors long and slender, moderately 
grooved ; the small posterior incisors not as large as in the preceding species ; lower incisors 
wedge-shaped, nearly straight. Molars more compressed and broader than in the preceding. 
Skull depressed between the orbits. Body covered with loose, shaggy hair. Hind legs nearly 
or quite twice the length of the fore legs. Feet thickly covered with hair above and beneath, 
concealing the long, thin and slightly curved claws. Whiskers long and numerous', black or 
black and white ; a tuft of three or four over the eyes, and some beneath the chin. 

Color. Independently of the change by season, it may be said that at no time, unless in 


high northern latitudes, can two individuals be found marked precisely alike. At all seasons, 
the base of the fur is plumbeous above and white beneath. Winter dress : White or nearly so, 
with irregular spots and dashes of a bright fawn-color, which is more apparent on the fore legs, 
ears and buttocks ; ears margined with blackish brown above, becoming deeper towards the 
tips ; tail and all beneath white. Summer dress : Above bright fawn or reddish brown ; fore- 
head, cheeks and ears of the same color ; all beneath white ; edges of the ears white, bordered 
with darker, particularly towards the tip. At all seasons, the hair on the soles is soiled white; 
margin of the eyelids dark brown ; pupil dark brown ; iris yellowish. 

Length of the head and body, 20' 0. Length of the tail, J ■ 5. 

Ditto of the head, 3" 6. Ditto of the fore legs, 6-5. 

Ditto of the ears, 3 "4. Ditto of the hind legs, 11 '2. 

Weight, 6 J lbs. 

The dimensions of this species, on the authority of Bachman, vary from seventeen to twenty- 
five inches. It is rcmarlsable how two observers have so widely differed in their account of 
'the dimensions of the same specimen. Bonaparte gives the total length as thirty-one inches. 
Harlan's measurement of the same specimen makes it but sixteen inches. These statements 
may be reconciled, when we recollect that the latter measured from the specimen when it was 
set up, whilst Bonaparte's dimensions were taken from the specimen when recent, and probably 
represented the di.stance from the nose to the extremity of the hind legs. 

This Hare was first vaguely indicated by Erxleben in 1777, but his name appears to have 
excited little attention. The work is exceedingly rare and difficult to procure, and the species 
continued to be confounded with the L. variabilis of Europe for nearly sixty years. Dr. 
Harlan carefully examined it, and determined it to be a distinct species, and not being aware 
of Erxleben's name, (which, it may be observed parenthetically, will apply to half a dozen 
northern hares,) gave it the name of vrrginianus. 

It occurs in most parts of the State, and is often called the While Rabbit. In the winter, 
the markets of New-York are abundantly supplied with this species from the Kaaterskill and 
Shawangunk (Shongo) mountains. As an article of food, it is highly esteemed by many ; 
but, as we suppose, rather from an association of ideas connected with the European hare, 
than from any merit of its own. It is in itself insipid and tasteless, and not to be compared 
with the common rabbit. Its food is various, consisting chiefly of grasses, buds, bark, leaves 
and berries. According to Bachman, they are fond of the young twigs of the spicewood 
[Laurus benzoin), the black poplar {Populus Jmdsonica), and the leaves and berries of various 
species of Pyrola or Pipsiseway. It lives exclusively in elevated and drjr forests of pines 
and firs, never venturing upon cleared or cultivated lands. Its period of gestation is about 
six weeks, producing from four to six young at a litter. It makes more resistance when 
seized than any other species, using its teeth and nails with great freedom. Under certain 
circumstances, however, all hares will exhibit considerable boldness. We have been informed 
by an eye-witness, that he saw a European buck rabbit (L. cuniculus) attack a cat, and rip 
open its bowels by a single stroke of its hind claws. 


The geographical range of this species is not yet well determined. According to Richard- 
son, it is found in Canada as far north as Hudson's Bay. It is found througliout the Northern 
States, and as far soutli as the northern parts of Pennsylvania. Mr. Doughty, in his Cabinet 
of Natural History, states that he has seen it as far south as Virginia, on one of the highest 
mountains in the northern part of that State. 

We subjoin the description of Erxleben, cited above : 

Lepus amcricanus, L. Cauda abbreviata ; pedibus posticis corpore dimidio longioribus ; 
auricularum caudjeque apicibus griseis. 

Die Haven. Kalm, Hudson's Bay Quadrup. Barrington, Phil. Trans. ¥01.02, p. 11. 
American Hare. FoKSTER, Phil. Trans. Vol. 63, p. 376. 

Magnitudine mcdius inter L. cuniculum et timidum alpinum (sc. L. timidus, Forster, Phil. 
Trans. Vol. 67, p. 343, et Vol. 62, p. 375). Auricularum et caudae apices perpetuo grisei. 
Pedes postici longiores quam in L. limido et cuniculo. Color griseo-fuscus ; hieme in frigi- 
dioribus albus. 

Habitat in America boreali, ad frctum Hudsonis copiosissimus. Nocturnus. Non fodit." 
Degit sub arborum radicibus inque cavis arboribus. Parit bis vel scmel in anno ; pullos 
quinque ad scptcm. Caro bona, colore L. timidi. 


L. glacialis, Leach. (Bachman, Ac. Sc. Vol. 7, p\. 21. Summer di-ess.) In winter white, summer 

light grey ; ears black. Length 27 - 30 inches. Maine, Newfoundland. 
L. aquaiicus. (Bachman, lb. Vol. 7, pi. 22, fig. 2.) Nearly black above, white beneath; ears not 

as long as the head ; feet long and narrow. Length 25 inches. Alabama, Louisiana. 
L. palastris. (Bachman, lb. Vol. 7, pi. 15, 16. Audubon, Birds, pi. 3G6.) Yellowish brown 

above, beneath grey ; ears much shorter than the head ; eyes small. Tail very short, ashy beneath. 

Length 14 inches. South Carolina to Texas. 
L. campestris. (Richardson, p. 224.) Lead-colored above, white beneath; in winter pure white, 

except the ears, which are broadly edged with reddish bro-i^ii. Length 22 inches. Norlhern 

L. longicaudatus. (Gray, Loud. Mag. 1837. Bachman, lb. Vol. 8, p. 83.) Blackish brown above, 

white beneath. Body slender. Tail 4-5 inches. Length 24 inches. Texas. 
L. nigricaudatus, Bennet. (Bachman, lb. Vol. 8, p. 84.) Above fawn tipped with black, beneath 

white. Tail above black. Length 22 inches. Texas, Mexico. 
L. californicus. (Gray, Loud. Mag. 1837.) Dark bro\vn above, beneath white tmged with yellow ; 

ears longer than the head. Length 25 inches. California. 
L. richardsoni. (Bachman, lb. Vol. 8, p. 88.) Mottled grey above, beneath white, tinged with pale 

yellowish towards the sides ; ears longer than head. Length 19 inches. California. 
L. townsendi. (Bachman, lb. Vol. 8, p. 90, pi. 2. L. tiutlali, young, ejusd. auctoris.) Above light 

grey, beneath white ; ears longer than the head, white behind, tipped witli black ; legs and tarsus 

very long. Length 26 inches. Oregon. 

Fauna. 13 


L. artemesia. (Bachman, lb. VoL-S, p. 94.) Grey above, beneath white; back of the neck and legs 

pale rusty ; ears as long as the head. Length 13 inches. Oregon.- 
L. bachmani. (Bachman, lb. Vol. 8, p. 96.) Deep grey above, beneath greyish white; ears longer 

than head. Lengtli 1 1 inches. 

Genus -LAGOMys, Geoffroy. Ears moderate; hind legs not much longer than those before; clavicles 

more developed than in Lepus ; molars ten above and ten beneath. Tail none. 
L. princeps. (Richardson, F. B. A. pi. 19.) Blackish brown above, beneath greyish fawn ; head 

short and thick ; ears broad and rounded; legs short ; toes with naked tubercles. Length 6-7 

inches. Rocky Mountains. 


Without incisors, and in several of the genera, ivith no teeth ivhatever. They have large 
and strong claios, covering the ends of the toes. Covered ivith long and coarse hairs, or 
with scaly plates. Occasionally the mouth drawn out into a flattened beak, and presenting 
great anomalies in their reproductive organs. Not ruminating. Feed chiefly on vegeta- 
bles, but also on insects and carcases. 

Obs. About twenty-four species, arranged in fourteen genera, arc known at present, in North 
and South America, Africa, India and Australia. Althougli numerous in the hot and tempe- 
rate parts of South America, no living representative of this order has been found within the 
United States, Two fossil genera have been described, but neither have been discovered in 
this State. 


Genus Megatherium, Cuvicr. Anterior toes four, posterior three. Size gigantic. Claws large, 

and with a bony sheath. Molars eight above and eight beneath; crowns of the molars with two 

transverse angular ridges. Body covered with a bony coat of armor. Tail large and very robust. 

Clavicles perfect. Herbivorous. 

M. cmneri. (Mitchill, Ann. Lye. Vol. 1, p. 58. Cooper, Ann, Lye. N. Y. Vol. 1, p. 114, pi. 7; 

Vol. 2, p. 267.) Toes with strong claws, two of which are rudimentary. Height seven feet ; bulk 

of the rhinoceros. (Marshes of Skidaway Island, Georgia ; and said to exist also at White Blufl, 

sea coast of Georgia. Originally found near Buenos Ayres. Another from the Rio del Sauce, 

near Montevideo.) 

Genus Megalonyx. Claws large, nearly seven inches long, and furnished with a bony sheath. Molars 
eight beneath, composed each of a simple cylinder of enamel ; crowns simple cavities, surrounded 
by the enamel. Clavicles perfect. 


M. jeffersonii. (Cuvier, Oss. Foss. Ed. tertia, p. 160. Cooper, Ann. Lye. Vol. 3, p. 166; Am. Month. 
Mag. Vol. 1, p. 157. — M laqueatus. Harlan, Ac. Nat. Sc. Vol. 6, p. 269; Med. and Phys, Res. 
p. 271, 319 et. seq.) About the size of an ox. The teeth, as far as they have been examined, seem 
to present some striking- diflcrcnces ; and Dr. Harlan seems disposed to consider some of them as 
indicating the type of a new genus, which he terms Pleurodon. 

The remains of this animal have been found in Bigbono Cave, Tennessee ; at Bigbone Lick, Boone 
county, Kentucky ; in a cave in Greenbriar county, Virginia ; and at White Cave, Edmondson 
county, Kentucky. They have also been discovered in the banks of the Rio Brazos, a few miles 
above St. Felipe, Texas, associated with the bones of the Mastodon; and according to Martius and 
Spix, in a cave in Brazil. The fullest and best account of its osteology will be found in the work 
of Harlan, cited above. 


Comprises numerous herbivorous animals, exhibiting great variety in size and structure, but 
all united hy one common character, viz : The toes covered by a horny case or hoof, which 
either embraces the toes separately. Or the foot is enclosed in a single hoof. In some the 
muzzle is elongated into a cylindrical tube ; in others, the head is furnished with simiile 
or branched horns, tvhich are sometimes only sexual distinctions. 

First Tribe. Pachydermata. 

Generally three sorts of teeth. Stomach simple or compound, but not adapted for rumination. 
No horns on the head. Many of the species extinct. 


Toes concealed under the skiti, their tips only distinct. Snout elongated into a long and 
flexible jxroboscis. The largest of tei-restrial animals, and in the living state, found only 
in the Eastern Continent. It cojnjxrises the Elephant, Mastodon, Rhinoceros and Hippo- 
potamus, embracing at present eight living and tioenty-one fossil species. 


Vpiper incisors in the form of enormous tusks, slightly arched towards the tips, a vertical 
section presenting curvilinear lozenges. Molars four above and four beneath, composed, of 
vertical lamince. With a long flexible proboscis. Five toes on all the feet. The skin of 
the living species thick, with scattering hairs. 



Elephas primigenius. 

(cabinet of the lyceum.) 

MiTCHILL, Cuv. Theory, N. Y. Etl. figure. 
Harlan, Ac. Sc. Phil. Vol. 3, p. C5, pi. 5. 

Numerous remains of the Fossil Elephant, belonging apparently to the species primigenius, 
have been found in various parts of North America, from tlie frozen mud near Behring's 
Straits, to the marshes of Carolina and Texas. 

The multitude no less than the magnitude of these bones in certain localities, is well calcu- 
lated to excite astonishment. Hedenstrom, in his survey of the Laechovir islands on the north- 
eastern coast of Siberia, remarks that the first of these islands is little more than one mass of 
these bones ; and that although the Siberian traders have been in the habit of bringing over 
large cargoes of them for upwards of sixty years, yet there appears to be no sensible diminu- 
tion. The teeth (tusks ?) found in these islands arc much whiter and more fresh than those of 
the continent. The most valuable were met with on a low sand bank on the western coast ; 
and there, when, after a long prevalence of easterly winds, the sea recedes, a fresh supply is 
always found. From this, Hedenstrom infers that large quantities must exist at the bottom of 
the ocean. 

One of the most singular discoveries in modern times, was that of an extinct elephant 
imbedded in a mass of ice on the northern coast of Siberia. Its body was nearly entire, and 
covered with thick fur, consisting of coarse hair from ten to fifteen inches long, and beneath 
this a slightly curled wool. Specimens of this hair may be seen in the Cabinet of the Lyceum 
of Natural History, New-York. 

Fischer has analysed and distinguished six fossil species of Elephants ; and Dr. Harlan 
appears to think it probable that two distinct species once existed in the United States, but 
the peculiar characteristics of each do not seem to be distinctly defined. According to Cuvier, 
the fossil elephants belonged to a geological period more ancient than the Mastodon, but we 
often find them associated together in the same formation. It is true that little more than the 
molars only have been discovered, thereby seeming to indicate that all the other bones had 
perished at a period long anterior to the destruction of the Mastodon. We sliould, however, 
recollect that the osteology of the two genera are very intimately allied ; and that from the fact 
that greater numbers of teeth of the Mastodon have been found, all the large bones are, 
without due examination, hastily referred to that genus. Besides the molars of the Elephant, 
few of the other portions of the skeleton have been identified. At Bigbone Lick, where 
their remains as individuals appear to be in proportion to the Mastodon as one to five, little 
more than the bones of the head, and in one instance two nearly complete heads, have been 
identified. Moreover, it does not appear ever to have been as numerous a species as the 


The principal localities of the Fossil Elephant in the United States, are the Bigbone Lick, 
Kentucky ; Biggin Swamp and Stone, South Carolina ; Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, 
Maryland, and Schooley's mountain in Monmouth county in New- Jersey. In this State we 
are acquainted with but one locality. There is, however, in the Museum of the Albany 
Institute, a portion of the tooth of an elephant said to have been found on the line of the Erie 
canal, but the precise locality is not known. 


Elepiias americanus. 

It is with some hesitation that I venture to designate, under a new name, a species foimded 
on specimens of teeth, which appear to differ widely from any hitherto met in this country. 
The tooth found on the banks of the Susquehannah, near Tioga, March, 1 786, and figured in 
the Columbian Magazine, approaches it somewhat, but can scarcely be referred to the same 
species. The specimens above alluded to were found in a diluvial formation near the Irondi- 
quoit river in Monroe county, ten miles east of the city of Rochester. According to a writer 
in the American Journal, Vol. 32, p. 377, these remains consisted of a tusk and two molars, 
one of whicli is in the Cabinet of the Lyceum, and is that figured in the plate. This is six 
inches in its gTcatest depth ; and, as nearly as can be conjectured from the part which remains, 
it must have been about eight inches long, and three in breadth on its grinding surface, which 
is, however, too much injured to exhibit the ends of the enamel. There are thirteen plates 
in a space of five inches, and they are more compressed than in any fossil species with which 
I am acquainted, being almost in contact, with very little interstitial substance. It is altogether 
different from any fossil elephant hitherto described, and inerits the distinct appellation of E. 

Note. Texas appears to be a rich locality for elephantine bones. From the Houston Tele- 
graph, April, 1840, we learn that a large collection of molars, tusks and other bones of the 
Elephant, were found in the banks of a ravine about two miles below Bastrop, covered with a 
bed of loam ten or twelve feet thick. A similar collection was obtained from the bed of the 
Rio Brazos. They were associated with the teeth and tusks of the Mastodon, described in 
the subsequent article. Some of the teeth are now in the Cabinet of the Lyceum of Natural 
History, New- York. 



Many characters m co7iimon with the Elephant, which it equalled or su7-passed m size. Mo- 
lars with sharp, elevated, conical teeth, which, when partly worn, display lozenges of 
enamel. In the adult, four molars above and four below. A vertical section of the upper 
incisors or tusks exhibits concentric plates of enamel. In the young, there are two incisors 
in the lower jaw, straight, short and conical. Tail moderate, about the length of that of 
the Elephant. 

Obs. The whole amount of teeth in the Mastodon, from infancy to old age, appears to be 
twenty-six. In infancy, sixteen molars and two lower incisors ; the hindmost molars, as they 
emerge, gradually pushing the others forward and out of their places, until the latter all drop 
out, and a large solitary tooth is left in each jaw. It is obviously inferred that they possessed 
long flexible trunks, as in the Elephants ; and its habits are similar, though less exclusively 


Mastodon maximus. 


Animal mcognitum. Rembrant Peale, Hist. Disq. Loud. Mag. 
Mastodon giganteum Gl maximus. Cuvier, Oss. Foss. 
Rhinoceros, Telracaulodon and Mammoth, of various writers.* 

From an early period in the history of this country after its settlement by Europeans, large 
bones were occasionally found, which excited considerable speculation. They were considered, 
according to the intelligence of their respective discoverers and commentators, as having be- 
longed to a race of giants or fallen angels, or to have belonged to Elephants. It was reserved 
for Cuvier, in the work cited above, to show that they belonged to an animal generically 

♦ The American authorities are so numerous, that it would require too much space to insert them all. For those who are 
disposed to investigate the American history of the discovery of this animal, we would make the following references : 

Mather, Royal Philos. Trans. 1712. Madison, lb. Vol. 15, p. 38. 

Dudley, Mass. Hist. Coll. 2nd series, Vol. 2, p. 263. Cuvier, Theory of the Earth, N. Y. Ed. 

Turner, Am. Phil. Trans. Vol. 4, p. 510. Peale, Am. Phil. Trans. 

Hunter, Am Museum, Vol. 5, p. 152. Godman, Vol. 3, p. 478 ; Vol. 4, p. 317. 

CoLLiNSON, lb. p. 155; lb. Vol. 8, p. 284. Id. Ac. Nat. Sc. Vol. 4, p. 67. 
Madison, Phil. Med. & Phys. Vol.2, p. 58; lb. Vol I, p. 156. Harlan, Fauna Americana. 

Bossu, lb. Vol. 1, p. 179. Id. MeJ. and Phys. Researches. 

Jefferson, lb. Vol. 1, p. 64. De Kay, &c. Ann. Lye. Vol. 1, p. 143. 

Barton, Rhinoceros ! lb. Vol. 2, p. 1, p. 158. Cooper, Am. Jour. Geol. Vol. 1, p. 158. 

Drayton, Hist. Carolina. Id. Am. Jour. Sc. Vol. 12, p. 381 ; Vol H, p. 187 ; Vol. 27, p. 

Graham & Miller, Med. Rep. Vol. 4, p. 211 and 308. 166; Vol. 31, p. 171. 
Mitchill, Med. Rep. Vol. 9, p. 322; Vol. 11, p. 318, 319. 


distinct from the Elephant, but alHed to it in bulk, habits and other particulars. Since that 
time, numerous species have been described in various parts of the world. 

In this country, there is scarcely a State east and south of the Hudson river, which has not 
afforded specimens of the Mastodon. Along the Atlantic coast, few remains have been found 
east of that river. The chief localities we have noted were at Cheshire, Connecticut, thirteen 
miles north of New-Haven, in diluvial gravel (Am. Jour. Vol. 14, p. 187) ; and at Berlin and 
Sharon in the same State (Id. Vol. 27, p. 166). We are not aware that any have been found 
in the more northerly States, although, on the western coast of America, they have been found 
in the latitude of 66° north. 

In this State, the remains of this animal were discovered near Claverack, as early as 1705, 
and formed the subject of a note from the celebrated Dr. Mather, which appeared in the 
English Philosophical Transaction.?, 1705, July 23 : " There is a prodigious tooth brought 
" here, supposed to be the tooth of a man, from the shape. It weighs 4f lbs. It was dug 
" up on the side of a hill, thirty or forty feet under ground, near a place called Claverack, 
" about thirty miles this side of Albany. It is looked upon here as a mighty wonder whether the 
" tooth be of man or beast. Other bones were dug up, which crumbled away upon exposure 
" to air. They say one of them, which is thought to be a thigh bone, was seventeen feet long." 
(DuNLAP, Hist. N. York, Vol. 2, appendix, p. 154.) 

In 1782, they were found in a swamp near Montgomery, Orange county, and in greater 
numbers at Shawangunk, Ulster county. Shortly after, portions of eight distinct individuals 
were discovered within eight or ten miles of Montgomery. In 1801, Mr. Peale succeeded in 
disinterring, from this region, an almost entire skeleton. 

Since that period, other localities have been discovered, the most remarkable of these are, 

1. From Rockland county, in 1817 ; and from Chester, Orange county, of which luimerous 
specimens are in the Cabinet of the Lyceum. A full account .of the exploration connected 
with these bones may be found in the American Edition of Cnvier's Theory of the Earth, 
before referred to. ^,; 

2. In the same year, remains were found in the city of Rochester, four feet below the sur- 
face, in a hollow or Water course. 

3. In 1823, more than One-half of a lower jaw, with the teeth, on the shore of Long-Island, 
between high and low water mark, about four miles east of the county court-house at River- 
head, Suffolk county. It is now in the Cabinet of the Lyceum of Natural History, New- 
York. It may be noted that a very large molar, in Dr. Morton's collection, was fished up 
from a similar locality, namely, in the ocean at Longbranch, New-Jersey. The bed of the 
German ocean appears to be a rich locality for the bones not only of the mastodon, but also 
of the elephant. In Loudon's Magazine for 1839, there is a figure and description of the 
molar of a mastodon dredged from the Dogger Bank ; and Woodward, in his Geology ot Nor- 
folk, states that upwards of two thous.and molars of the elephant (and probably of the masto- 
don), had been dredged up by the fishermen of one little village (Hasbro'), in the space of 
thirteen years. 


4. At Genesco, Livingston county, (sec Am. Jour. Vol. 12, p. 381,) the greater part of a 
skeleton was found in a marsh two feet and a half below the surface, in vegetable mould, 
and resting upon a bed of fine white gravel. 

5. In 1834, the molar tooth of this species was found near Jamestown, Chautauquc county. 
This is stated in the 27th volume of the American Journal of Science to have been two and 
a half inches long and one inch broad, and to have been found ten feet below the surface. 

6. A line portion of the lower jaw of a young mastodon, from the town of Montgomery, 
Orange count)^ This specimen enlarged our knowledge of the dentition of the mastodon, 
exhibiting two short straight tusks from four to six inches long. It would appear that these 
lower incisors are in some instances permanent for a considerable period ; but whether this is 
a sexual characteristic, or an accidental case of anomaly, is not yet determined. Upon this 
specimen, however, the reader will find an attempt made to construct a new genus under the 
name of Tetracavlodoii. 

7. In the town of Shawangunk, Ulster county. 

8. At Perrinton, near Rochester, Monroe county. 

9. At Coeymans, Albany county. 

10. At Hinsdale, Cattaraugus county, a tusk was found seventeen feet beneath the surface. 
The soil was composed of alternate strata of sand and gravel. 

11. In 1841, in a bed of marl three miles south of Le Roy, weighing two pounds. 

12. A tooth was found in digging a mill-race on Goat Island, Niagara county, twelve or 
thirteen feet below the surface. 

The Great Mastodon, or Mammoth* as it is sometimes improperly called, equalled or 
exceeded the Elephant in bulk, and greatly resembled him in shape. The greatest diflferencc 
in this latter particular was in the elevation of the fore shoulders, while in the elephant the 
back was regularly arched. Cuvier, from an examination of the situation and direction of the 
pelvis, inferred that the belly must have been smaller, and consequently the intestines less 
voluminous than in the elephant ; and this, in connection with the structure of the teeth, leads 
us to the conclusion that the mastodon did not exclusively feed on leaves, limbs and tops of 
young trees. The position of the molars, which diverge in front from each other, also varies from 
those of the elephant, and much more nearly resembles those of the hog and hippopotamus. 
To these animals it would seem that he is still farther allied, in his fondness for swamps and 
marshy places, where his bones are for the most part found under circumstances which lead 
to the irresistible conclusion that he lived and perished in those places. It was at first 
supposed that it was exclusively a northern animal, and like the fossil elephant of Siberia, 

* The impropriety consists merely in using a term wliich had been specially applied by the inhabitants of Siberia to a fossil 
elephant ; but as the two fossil animals are both gigantic, and nearly allied, we saw no reason for announcing in characters as 
large as a modern play-bill, the following label over the bones of the Mastodon in the Collection of the Garden of Plants at 
Paris; " Le Grand Mastodon, improprement nomni^ Mam?nouth par les Anglo-Americains" ! We believe this offensive label 
has been recently removed. 


furnished with hair adapted for its residence in a cold region. Other species, however, 
were soon discovered in South America, and subsequently in the Burman Empire. Tlie genus 
Mastodon then embraces species found in almost every part of the world, and in all latitudes. 
In the United States, but a single species has been found ; and its remains, thus far, have 
been found along the Atlantic coast, from New-York to the Gulf of Mexico. In South 
America, he appears to have been replaced by another species (angustidens). 

The geological period at which this huge animal existed, has occasioned much attention. 
It must have been among the most recently extinct of all quadrupeds, unless we except some 
species whose generic types still exist on this continent. Rejecting as altogether fabulous the 
pretended discovery of the stomach of this animal, with its contents, consisting of reeds, twigs 
and grass, as detailed by Barton (Med. and Pliys. Jour. Vol. 3, p. 23), it has certainly been 
discovered in positions indicating that the animal perished and left its bones on or near the 
surface where they are now found. Cuvier states that the mastodons discovered near the 
Great Osage river, were almost all found in a vertical position, as if the animals had merely 
sunk in the mud (Oss. Foss., Ed. alt. Vol. 1, p. 217, 222). Since that time, many others 
have been found in swamps, a short distance beneath the surface, (frequently some of the 
bones appearing above the soil,) in an erect position ; conveying the perfect impression that 
the animal (probably in search of its food) had wandered into a swamp, and unable to extricate 
himself, had died on the spot. Such an incident doubtless occurred to the animal whose 
bones we assisted to disinter, some years ago, at Longbranch, New-Jersey. He was in a 
natural vertical position, his body supported by the turf soil or black earth, and his feet resting 
upon a gravelly bottom. The occurrence of the bones of other animals not yet extinct, in 
company with those of the mastodon, is not a conclusive evidence of their cotemporaneous 
existence ; but we cannot deny that it furnishes strong reasons for believing them to have 
been of a very recent date. We think it highly probable that the mastodon was alive in this 
country at a period when its surface was not materially different from its actual state, and 
that he may have existed cotemporaneously with man. 

There is one fact connected with the discovery of the bones of the mastodon in this country, 
which appears to have been passed over as doubtful or apocryphal. We allude to the possi- 
bility, that upon a due investigation, some of the softer parts may be detected. Mr. Graham, 
an intelhgent observer, when describing (Med. Repos. Vol. 4, p. 414) the mastodon bones in 
Montgomery, states, that " hair was found three inches long, and of a dun color." Judge 
Miller, in describing the appearance of the skeleton at Shawangunk, Ulster county, says, that 
" around and in the immediate vicinity were locks and tufts of hair of a dun brown, an inch 
" and a half to two and a half inches long, and in some instances four to seven inches in 
" length." This description corresponds with the specimen from the fossil elephant of Siberia, 
in the Cabinet of the Lyceum. In the account of another specimen, Mitchill (Appendix to 
Cuvier's Theory) says, " Beneath the bones, and immediately around them, was a stratum of 
" coarse vegetable stems and fibres resembling chopped straw, or rather drift stuff of the sea; 
" for it seemed to be mixed with broken fibres of conferva, like those of the Atlantic shore." 
Whether the original observers were deceived by mistaking this appearance for hair, or 
Fauna. 14 


whether Mitchill liimself was misled, it is probable that both alluded to the same substance. 
It is now' impossible to determine this point, but it is to be regretted that a more critical exa- 
mination was not made at the time, and the substances themselves submitted to chemical 


With teeth of various kinds. Toes more than two, cleft into distinct hoofs. Muzzle for 
the most jjart eloiigated. 

Obs. The animals of this group are distributed over the globe, and comprise at present 
about twenty species. More than double that number of extinct species have been discovered. 
In this State we have but one representative of this family, and that one has been introduced 
from Europe. 

GENUS SUS. Linneus. 

Four toes on all the feet ; the two posterior short, not touching the ground. Incisors, | ; 
canines, | ; cheek teeth, \^ = 44. Lower incisors nearly horizontal. Canines often very 
large, ti-iangular, directed outwards. Body covered with strong bristly hair. 

THE COMMON HOG.— {Introduced.) 
,Sus scROFA, Var. domestica. 

This well known and useful animal is derived from the Wild Boar, still found in the tem- 
perate regions of Europe and Asia. It accompanied the first settlers in this State, and soon 
became numerous. "Some of our people," observes Vanderdonck, "prefer the English 
" breed, as they are more hardy, and subsist better in winter without shelter ; but the Holland 
" breed grows much larger and heavier, and have thicker pork." From the same writer we 
learn that it was a common practice at that time in the neighborhood of New-York, to drive 
the hogs into the woods in the spring, and to recall them in the autumn ; a practice which is 
still kept up in the thinly settled portions of the State at the present day. The sow goes with 
young about four months, and produces eight to twelve, and even more, at a litter. 

Traces of the large limbed Dutch breed of hogs may still be found in some districts, which 
have been kno\vn to weigh more than a thousand pounds. Our common breed of hogs has 
been much improved of late years, by crossing with the English, Berkshire and Chinese 
varieties. The former is more particularly in request, on account of the flavor of its meat, 
and as producing large litters. We think it susceptible of still farther improvement, by judi- 
cious crossing with the old Dutch breed alluded to above. 



Genus Dicotyies, F. Cuvier. Posterior feet -with three toes only, the external wanting. Incisors, 4 • 

canines, | ; cheek teeth, J-| = 38. A fetid gland on the lumbar region. Tail obsolete. 
D. iorquatus. (Nuttal, Trav. in Ark. p. 155. Cuvier, Mam. plate.) A whitish band descending 
obliquely from each shoulder to the sides of the neck. Red river, Arkansas. 

Genus Tapirus, Brisson. The existence of this genus within the limits of the United States, rests upon 
a single fossil tooth from Bigbone Lick, and described by Dr. Harlan (Fauna, p. 224) imder the 
name of Tapirus mastodontoides. It has been questioned whether this may not have belonged 
to a young mastodon, but the cornparison instituted by Dr. Harlan (Med. and Phys. Res. p. 265) 
at Paris, establishes clearly its position in this genus. 


A single solid hoof, with but one apparent toe ; although they have, beneath the skin, two 
protuberances on each side, representing lateral toes. Although exclusively herbivorous, 
they have nearly simple stomachs, and do not ruminate. 

Of this family we have no native species. Two have been introduced. 

GENUS EQUUS. Linneus. 

Cutting teeth,, | ; canines, |, seldotn present in the female ; molars, i| = 40. Tail uni- 
formly covered ivith long hair. Ears moderate. 

THE liOB.5i:.— (Introduced.) 


This noble and useful animal is too well known to require description. Originally from 
Asia, where the species still exists in a wild state, it has been domesticated from time imme- 
morial, and has been distributed by man over the globe. On this continent, troops of wild 
horses, from the domestic stock, are found in immense numbers. They are not uncommon 
on the extensive plains west of the Mississippi. They were once numerous on the eastern 
side of the Rocky mountains, near the northern sources of the Columbia river ; but at present, 
they are said not to be found wild, north of the fifty-third parallel. 

In this State, the Horse was introduced at an early period. Vanderdonck, speaking of the 
Horses of the Colony of Nieuw- Amsterdam, says, " The horses are of the proper breed for 
" husbandry, having been brought from Utrecht for that purpose, and this stock has not dimi- 
" nished in size or quality. There are also horses of the English breed, which are lighter, 
" not so fit for agricultural purposes, but are well adapted for the saddle. These are not so 


" expensive as the Dutch breed, and are easily obtained, (from New-England?) Curaso or 
" Arabian horses are likewise imported into the country, but are not very acceptable, as they 
" can scarcely endure the climate, and often die in winter. Fine large horses are bred in the 
" country, which live long, and are seldom diseased." The Curaso horses, mentioned above, 
according to the Albany Dutch Records, were imported from the Island of Curaijoa, between 
which place and New- Amsterdam there was a brisk traffic carried on as early as 1637. 

It appears from the statement given above, that the horses of this State were originally of 
the Dutch race, subsequently of the English stock, and were at that early period with an admix- 
ture of Arabian blood. Much attention has since been paid to the improvement of the breed, 
by the importation of the best Arabian horses ; and we believe it is now generally conceded, 
that in the combined qualities of speed and endurance, the horses of this State are excelled 
by none in the world. 

THE ASS.— (Introduced.) 


This useful animal is a native of the East ; it is considered to be generically different from 
the Horse by some writers, on account of its long ears, tufted tail, and the absence of callo- 
sities on its hind legs. It breeds occasionally with the horse, and the product is called a mule 
or hitrni/, according as the ass is the male or female parent. It is a hardy animal, requiring 
little care, but lias not been much attended to in this State. In Kentuck}^ and some others 
of the western States, much attention has been paid to the ass, and its cross wjlh the horse ; 
and a fine breed has been raised, which readily commands high prices. 




Teeth and bones of the Horse have been found in various parts of the Union, but I am unacquainted 
with any locality in this State. The nearest approach to it are the teeth and vertebrae found near the 
Navesink hills in New-Jersey, described by Mitchill in the Appendix to the New- York edition of 
Cuvier's Theory of the Earth, and also noted at pages 7 and 8 of his Catalogue of Organic Remains. 
They have also been found on the north branch of the Susquehannah ; in digging the Chesapeake canal, 
near Georgetowm, D. C. ; and in North Carolina, sixteen miles below Newbern. They resemble those 
of the common domestic horse ; but from their size, apparently belonged to a larger animal. 

family bovidje. 109 

Second Tribe. Pecora. 

No incisors in the upper jaiv ; canities for the most part loanting ; molars of a uniform 
character, usually twelve above and twelve beneath. The two middle toes separate, as if 
cloven. Frontal bone, in the greater nimiber of families, furnished with horns, at least in 
the male sex. With four stomachs. Chewing the ctid, or ruminating. Herbivorous. 
Intestinal canal long. Teats between the thighs. Useful to man as beasts of burthen, or 
as food. 


Horns in both sexes, persistent, ustially round, smooth, pointed , never straight ; increasing by 
ringlets at the base. The porous nucleus supporting the horn, is a j^folongation of the 
frontal bone. No canine teeth. 

Obs. This family comprises animals hitherto arranged under the genera Bos, Antilope, 
Capra and Ovis ; and including, as now restricted, about eighteen species, included by the 
most recent writers under seven genera. But four species of this family are found in North 
America, and, with the exception of one introduced species, none now exist within the limits 
of the State of New- York. 

GENUS BOS. Linneus. 

Horns smooth, directed laterally at first, afterioards recurved, arising from the crest. Body 
thick and heavy. Li?nbs strong. Tail moderately long, ivith a terminal tuft of hair. 
Muzzle broad, black, naked. Hair stnooth, straight. 

THE COMMON OX. — {Introduced.) 


The primitive stock of this animal, whose domestication has exercised such an extensive 
influence over the condition of man, is unknown. It was introduced into this State by the 
earliest colonists, and was originally of the large Holstein or Dutch breed ; and it is but a few 
years since, on the Hudson and Mohawk, there existed undoubted remnants of stock imported 
by the Dutch settlers from Holland (Cultivator, Vol. 2, p. 28). We learn from Vander- 
donck, that " the cattle in the New-Netherlands are mostly of the Holland breed. Many 
" were brought over from Amersfort in the province of Utrecht. They have also English 
" cattle in the country, purchased from the English in New-England." The principal and 
best varieties at the present day are of English descent, and great attention is paid to improve 
their most desirable qualities. It has been observed that the imported stock does not always 


sustain its foreign reputation, in consequence of a cliange in its food, treatment, or perhaps 
from a difference in climate ; but when mixed with our native stock, the half-bloods exhibit a 
decided improvement. 


B. moschatus. (Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 3, plate.) Horns contiguous, broad at the base, directed 
laterally and downwards against the cheeks, and ending in round points directed upwards. Now 
arranged imder Ovibos. Arctic Regions. 


B. bomhifrons. (Phil. Soc. Vol. 1, p. 379. Harlan, p. 271. Cooper, Am. Month. Vol. 1, p. 172.) 
Summit of the head convex, arched ; horns distant, rather flattened at base, projecting laterally and 
do\\Tiwards. Kentucky. 

B. latifrons. (Harlan, p. 273. Godman, figure. Cooper, Am, Month, Vol. 1, p. 173.) Summit 
of the head broader than high ; horns long, round, and directed laterally and upwards. Kentucky. 

B. fallasii. (De Kay, Ann. Lye. Vol, 2, p. 280.) Summit of the head depressed; horns short, flat- 
tened and turned down\\-ards. Kentucky, Missouri. 

Genus Bison, iS?«i</f. (Extirpated.) Forehead shghtly arched, much broader than liigh ; shoulders 

elevated ; tail short ; legs slender ; hair soft and woolly ; a beard, 
B. americanus. (Godman, Vol, 3, figure.) Horns small, round, directed laterally and upwards. 
Chesnut brown or blackish, 
Obs. The Bison, or American Buffalo, has been long since extirpated from this State ; and akhough 
it is not at present found east of the Mississippi, yet there is abundant testimony from various writers to 
show that this animal was formerly numerous along the Atlantic coast from New- York to Mexico, 
Warden asserts, that at no very distant period, it existed in Pennsylvania;* and as late as 1756, large 
herds ^\ere found in Kentucky, They are now only found on the plauis of Missouri ; and from the 
murderous warfare directed against them, the day is not far distant wlicn the whole race will be extirpated. 


Horns persistent, (in mant/ genera exclusively in the tnales,) on a bony nucleus nearly solid : 
The horns for the inost part simple, often compressed more or less, angular, with elevated 
knobs or rings at the base. No canine teeth. 


Obs. This family contains, in tlie writings of the most recent systematists, between seventy 
and eighty species, arranged among twenty genera. It is composed of the old genera Ovis, 
Capra and Antilope, but comprises many new forms. We have but few representatives of 

♦ One of our most leanied and acute philologists states, thai about the years 1785 or 1790, the bison was not uncommon on the 
Monongahela, Pennsylvania, adjoining Mason & Dixon's line. He has evidently been misinformed, not only in the fact that the 
bison is merely a variety of the European o.\, but also in the assertion that the product of the bison and domestic cow will again 
propagate, (Archo'otogiti Americana, Vol. 2, p, 139.) 


lliis family in the United States, and, with the exception of two introduced species, none 
within the hmits of this State. The common goat (Capra hircus) has been introduced, but 
not to any extent, and is considered of httlc value. 

GENUS OVIS. Linneus. 

Lower incisors eight. No muzzle. Horns {generalhj common to both sexes) with a cellular 
bony nucleus, large, triangular, directed backwards, and returning spirally more or less in 
front. No beard. Forehead arched. Tail short. MammcE two, inguinal. 



The primitive stock of this well known and useful animal is supposed by some to be the 
O. amnion ; while others consider it to be a distinct species whose primitive type is the O. 
musmon, still found wild in the mountainous districts of eastern Europe. 

The original stock of sheep in this State was derived from Holland, as we learn from Van- 
Jerdonck, who wrote about the year 1650. It is probable that they were almost immedi- 
ately crossed with the common English breed, imported into the neighboring colony of New- 
England. " Sheejj," he says, " are also kept in the New-Netherlands, but not as many as 
" in New-England, where the weaving business is carried on, and where much more attention 
" is paid to them than by the New-Netherlanders. The sheep, however, thrive well, and 
" become fat enough. I have seen mutton there so exceeding fat, that it was too luscious 
" and offensive. The sheep breed well, and are healthy ; they find good pasture in summer 
" and good hay in winter ; but the flocks require to be guarded and tended on account of the 
" wolves, for which purpose men cannot be spared. There is also a more important hind- 
" ranee to the keeping of sheep, which are chiefly cultivated for their wool. New-Netherland 
" is a woody country throughout, being almost every where beset with trees, stumps and 
" brush- wood, wherein the sheep pasture, and by which they lose most of their wool. This 
" is not apparent vmtil they are sheared, when the fleeces turn out very light." 

It is interesting to compare the account of the early introduction of sheep into New- York, 
with the results after a lapse of nearly two hundred years. By the census of 1840, there 
were no less than 5,381,225 sheep in the State of New- York alone. 

The common sheep of this State formerly yielded a coarse wool, scarcely averaging three 
pounds to the fleece ; they were excellent breeders, and the young throve well even when 
entirely neglected. Within the last forty years, the introduction of foreign varieties, remark- 
able for the fineness of their wool and the improved quality of their flesh, has caused the old 
common stock in this State to disappear. 

The first variety introduced into New- York, was the Spanish merino : this occurred in 1801. 
It was not, however, until seven or eight years after, that their importance began to be appro- 


ciated. A mania for sheep then commenced, scarcely inferior to the tulip mania of Holland, 
or the moms jmihicaulis speculations of our own country at a recent period. As much as a 
thousand dollars, and in some instances nearly twice that amount, was paid for a single ram. 
Of the Spanish merino races, there are three distinct varieties, known under the names of the 
Paular, Negretti and Guadaloupe breeds. 

The quahty of the fleece was still farther improved in 1824, by the introduction of what are 
termed Saxony sheep. These are originally of the Spanish merino race, introduced into 
Saxony about one hundred years ago, and upon which great pains and care had been bestowed. 
To improve the quality of the flesh, our .sheep have been still farther crossed with the Bake- 
well or New-Leicester breed, and also with the South-downs, both from England. The 
former was first introduced into this State in 1815, by Mr. Dunn of Albany, and the latter 
only a few years since. 

The period of gestation in the Sheep is about five months, producing one or two at a birth, 
rarely more. The two middle incisors drop out at the end of the first year, and arc replaced 
by others ; at two years, the two next ; at three, four are renewed ; and at the end of the 
third year, or three and a half, all have been replaced, and the individual is then said to be 
full mouthed. 


O. montana,. Argali, Big-horn, Rocky Mountain Sheep. (Richardson, pi. 23. Godman, plate.) 
Horns in the male very large, contiguous, curved in a gentle spire ; in the female, smaller, erect, 
slightly curved backwards and outwards. Rocky Mountains. 

Genus Capra, Linneus. Teeth as in the genus Ovis ; forehead concave; horns generally common to 
both sexes, either vertical or inclined more or less, angular; two sorts of hair ; chin bearded. 

C. hircus. Common Goat. Introduced. 

C. americana, Blainville. (Ord. Ac. Sc. Smith, Lin. Trans, plate. Godman, Vol. 2, plate.) Rocky 
Mountain Goat. Horns black, nearly erect, conical, slightly curved backwards, obscurely ringed 
at the base, smooth and polished at the tips ; muzzle extremely small. Color white, with long 
straight hair. Larger than the common goat. Ranges from forty to sixty-five parallels. 

Genus Antilope, Smith. Horns compressed, placed beneath the frontal crest, round or compressed ; 

chin beardless. Body slender, standing high on the legs, with a general resemblance to that of 

a deer. 

A. americana. Prong-horned Antilope. (Godman, Vol. 2, plate. Richardson, pi. 21.) Horns 

compressed, black, tapering, curved inwards towards each other ; a small snag or antler at about 

one-third of its height, projecting forwards. Plains of Missouri. 

O. mammilaris. (Kirtland, Am. Jour. Vol. 31, p. 82, plate.) 



Horns solid, deciduous, {in most of the genera, in the male only.) No incisors above, eight 
beneath. Occasionally canines above. A sub-orbital sinus, or glandular cavity at the inner 
angle of the eye ; pujjils elongated. Tail short. Legs slender. Feet bisulcated. 

Obs. This family, which is founded on the old linnean genus Cervus or Deer, now comprises 
forty-five real or nominal -species, distributed, according to the ideas of systematic %vriters, 
into eight or ten genera. But six species are found within the United States, and of these, 
three only exist in the State of New- York. 


Horns always present in the males, branched, sub-palmated or simple ; the horn arising 
rounded from a burr or rose-shaped base. Ears large. Mamma four, inguinal. No canine 
teeth. A muzzle. Tail short, bushy. 


Cervus vmciNiANns. 


Dama virginiana: Ray, Syn. Quad. p. 8G. F. Cdvier, Mamm. lithog. p'.ate. 

Cervus virginianus. Harlan, Fauna Amer. p. 239. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 306, plate. 

Mazama id. Hamilton Smith, Griffith's Cuv. Vol. 4, p. 127, and Vol. 5, p. 315- 

C. {Mazama) mexicanus et davahis. Hamilton Smith, lb. p. 315. 

Fallow Deer. Emstons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 81. 

Characteristics. Reddish or bluish grey, according to the season. Young, spotted with white. 
Horns moderate, curving forward, with the concave part in front, with from 
one to six points, occasionally palmated. 

Description. Head long and slender. Muzzle pointed. Eyes large and lustrous, the lachry- 
mal pits consisting of a slight fold of the skin. Tail moderate, depressed. Legs slender. A 
glandular pouch concealed by a thick tuft of rigid hairs inside of the hind legs, odoriferous, 
and connected with the sexual appetite. The honis of the adult male vary so much in shape, 
that scarcely any two are alike ; appearmg to depend upon age, season, and abundance or 
scarcity of food. In the first season they are simple, cylindrical and pointed, and in this state 
they are known as spike bucks ; in the following season, they have a short, straight antler ; 
and the number increases until the fourth season, when the following is the most usual con- 
dition of the horns : The main stem rises upward and laterally, and then makes a broad curve 
forward, with the tips turned inward and downward ; on the inner and slightly anterior surface 
of the main stem, arises a short brow antler, directed forward and upward ; tlic stem, thus 
Fauna. 15 


far, is roughened by nodosities and furrows ; above this, a branch is thrown off from the inte- 
rior or anterior, curving inwards and forwards, and occasionally another branch before reaching 
the tip. These first and second branches are occasionally themselves bifurcated ; and in one 
before me now, the horns exhibit six tips on one side, including those of the brow antlers, and 
on the otlier nine, the first branch being bifid, the second trifid, a third simple, and the extreme 
tip itself bifid. When tiie horn is palmatcd, the flattening occurs at the origin of the first 
brancli. In many specimens, there is only the brow antler, and a single branch above. Fur 
composed of flattened angular hairs, lying smooth on the body. 

Color. Bluish grey in the autumn and winter, dusky reddish or fulvous in the spring, be- 
coming bluish in the summer. The fawns are irregularly spotted with white. The grey or 
reddish color in the adult extends over the whole head, back, sides, and upper part of the tail ; 
a few white hairs often observed on the rump, at the origin of the tail. Beneath the chin, 
lliroat, belly, and inside of legs and under side of tail, always white. Ears margined with 
dark brown, and often with white hairs within, and a while circle round the eyes. Hoofs jet 

Total length (average), 68 '0. 

Length of tail (including hairs), 6'0. 

Height of ear, 4'0. 

This well known animal is still found in almost every part of the State, where there is 
sufficient forest to afford them food and cover. From the mountainous regions of Orange, 
Rockland and Delaware, the city market is supplied in great abundance during the winter. 
In the most northerly counties, they are not numerous ; and in other counties, the united 
attacks of men and wolves are daily decreasing their number. Under the article Wolf, we 
have shown how destructive the wolves are to deer. In some insulated districts, as on Long 
Island, where the wolf has been extirpated, and the deer arc placed under the protection of 
the laws during the breeding season, altliough more than a hundred are annually killed by 
sportsmen, yet it is believed that their number is actually on the increase.* 

The Deer has one and occasionally two fawns at a birth, which in the southern part of the 
State occurs in May or June ; in the northern districts, somewhat earlier. In the rutting 
season, the males are restless and bold, and are observed to have the neck considerably 
swelled. When alarmed, they stamp quickly and often on the ground, and emit a sound like 
a shrill whistle, which may be heard at a great distance. When mortally wounded, they often 
give a faint bleat like that of a calf. When brought to bay, it throws off its habitual timidity, 
its eyes glare fiercely around, every hair on its body bristles up and appears as if directed 
forward, and it dashes boldly upon its foe. Its horns are cast usually in the winter, but the 

* By tlic present law of the SUite, deer are only permitted to be killed between the first of August and the first of January ensu- 
ing. So many does, however, have been lately killed, with young in December, in the southern parts of tiie State, that at this 
session (1842) the project of a law has been introduced, to allow deer to be killed in certain counties only in the months of Sep- 
tember, October and November. 


period appears to depend much on the latitude, mildness or severity of the season. While 
growing, the horns are covered with a velvet-like membrane, which peeh off as soon as they 
have attained their growth. It has often been a matter of surprise, that while so many horns 
are annually cast, so few are ever found. This is to be explained by the fact, that as soon as 
shed, they arc eaten up by the smaller gnawing animals. I have repeatedly found them half 
gnawed up by the various kinds of field mice so numerous in our forests. 

The Deer is an exceedingly useful animal, not only as furnishing an excellent article of food 
to the settlers in frontier counties, where it would be impracticable to obtain any other meat, 
but also as furnishing the buckskin of commerce. It feeds on buds and twigs of trees, shrubs, 
berries and grasses. It appears to be particularly fond of the buds and flowers of the pond- 

It ranges from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and probably still farther south. I saw two 
deer alive from Campechy, which were exlaibited as Mexican deer, but offered no distinctive 
characters from those of our common deer. It is found throughout the west to the Rocky 
mountains. It does not appear to extend into Canada. 


Cervus alces. 


Cervus alces. Lin. 12 Ed. p. 92. 

Moose Deer. Penn. Arct. Zool. Vol. 1, p. 17, pi. 8. 

C. alces. Hablan, Fauna, p. 229. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 274, figure. 

American Black Elk. Griffith's Cuvier, Vol. 4, p. 72. Plate of Heads. 

The Elk. Hamilton Smith, lb. Vol. 5, p. 303. 

Moose Deer. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 232. 

Moose. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1838, p. 28; for 1810, p. 74. 

Characteristics. Blackish grey. Adult male with broad flattened horns. Snout long, pre- 
hensile. Neck with a mane. Size of a horse, and largest of the genus. 

Description. Stature large. Head long, somewhat narrowed before the eyes, then enlarged 
into a thick curved nose ; the muzzle small. Nostrils long, narrow, enlarged beneath. Eyes 
moderately large, and placed near the base of the horns ; lachrymal pit small. Ears long 
and asinine. Neck very short, and furnished with a short mane. A tuft of long coarse hair 
like a beard beneath the throat in both sexes ; in the young, this appears like a pendulous 
gland. Horns in the male only. Tlie first year, it exists in the shape of a short knob, not 
more than an inch high ; in the following 5'ear, it is a round spike, slightly directed outwards, 
and about a foot long ; in the third year, they begin to branch forward, and to become pal- 
mated above. In full grown adult males, the palmated portion ends in from five to eight short 
tips ; and the brow antlers, if present, are round and pointed, directed forwards, and occasion- 
ally bifid or even trifid. Hair coarse and angular, longer upon the neck and withers. 


Color. Generally fulvous brown on the upper part of the body, and on the head and sides ; 
this color extends to the upper part of the thighs and fore legs, occasionally extending further 
down. Ears greyish or dingy white within. Body beneath light colored, with a slight tinge 
of yellow or soiled white ; under side of tail white. In winter, the head, neck and all the 
upper parts of the body quite dark. Young, sandy brown, unspotted ; and this color deepens 
with age, so that in very aged individuals the color is almost black. 

Total length, 6 to 7 feet. 

Length of tail, 10-0 -16-0. 

Height at the withers, 48-0- 65-0. 

The Moose, in its ungainly form and awkward movements, presents a singidar contrast to 
the elegance and graceful motions of the other members of its family. It is known with us 
under the various names of Flat-Horned Elk, Black Elk, Moose, and Black Moose ; the name 
moose being a corruption of the Indian appellation musee, or ivood-cater. In the earliest 
history of our State, the following allusion is made to this animal : " There is also another 
" kind, which are represented to be large, and about which strange stories are related. I 
" heard from the mouth of a Jesuit who had been taken prisoner by the Mohawk Indians, that 
" there were many wild forest oxen in Canada and Nova-Francia, which in latin they named 
" Boves sylvestres ; as large as horses, having long hair on their neck like the mane of a horse, 
" but with cloven hoofs, and their habits were not fierce." {Vanderdonck.) 

In conformity to the doctrine held by many modern naturalists, that few if any quadrupeds 
are common to the two continents, it has been doubted whether this species is identical with 
the C. alces, or Elk of Em-ope. I have not had the opportunity, by direct comparison of 
specimens from both continents, to determine this question ; but a careful examination of the 
descriptions of European writers, with my notes taken many years since from specimens in the 
collections of Paris and Berlin, satisfies me of their specific identity. Hamilton Smith, whose 
opportunities for examining our Moose were very great, observes, that " the almost complete 
" separation of the lower part of the horns into the form of branches, in most if not all the 
" American specimens, is a very prominent character, while a similar conformation is rare in 
" those of Europe." In the valuable collection of the Lyceum of Natural History of New- 
York, are several horns of this species, all without the lower antlers. One pair, which is 
attached to the skull, and which from its size probably belonged to an aged moose, is equally 
destitute of lower antlers. This pair is four feet across from tip to tip ; the palmated part is 
thirty inches wide, measured in an antero-posterior direction. 

In the summer, the Moose frequents the neighborhood of lakes and streams, frequently 
swimming in the water, and feeding upon aquatic plants, among which the roots of the pond- 
lily appear to be most greedily devoured. It also feeds upon the high coarse grasses, twigs 
of trees, more especially of the striped maple {Acer striatum, Pursh), which has consequently 
received the name of Moose-icood. It likewise peels old trees, and feeds upon the bark. 
Period of gestation, nine months ; and it produces one or two at a birth, in April or May. 


In winter, the moose herd together for mutual protection, selecting hilly woods, and feeding 
exclusively on young twigs and the moss and bark of trees. These herds consist of a bull, a 
cow and two calves ; sometimes four or five cows, but this is more rare. Occasionally several 
of these herds unite, and when the snow lies deep, they will tread down a space of several 
acres, which are termed by the hunters moose-yards. At this season, and in such situations, 
the hunter attacks them most successfully. 

They are yet numerous in the unsettled portions of the State, in the counties of Essex, 
Herkimer, Hamilton, Franklin, Lewis and Warren ; and since the gradual removal of the 
Indians, they are now (1841) believed to be on the increase. They have been extirpated from 
Massachusetts, but arc still found in Maine, Vermont and New-Hampshire. Godman has 
erroneously stated that they are not known south of Maine ; and this error has been magnified 
by subsequent copyists, who assert that it is not found in the State of Maine. It existed for- 
merly much nearer the Atlantic coast ; for we learn from Dunlap, that a pair of moose were 
once sent from Fisher's Island to England. 

The Moose is a timid, wary animal ; and its senses of hearing and smelling are so acute, 
that it requires the greatest caution on the part of the hunter to approach it. During an expe- 
dition of several weeks through the counties of Hamilton, Franklin and Essex, although their 
tracks were almost daily visible, yet we never had an opportunity of shooting a single indi- 
vidual. A specimen was sent to me from Lewis county, but unfortunately never reached its 

The moose furnishes an excellent material from its hide for moccasins and snow-shoes. 
The best skin is obtained from the bull moose in October, and usually sells for four dollars. 
They were formerly so numerous about Raquet lake, that the Indians and French Canadians 
resorted thither to obtain their hides for this purpose ; and hence we have the origin of the 
name of that lake, the word raquet meaning snow-shoes. They still exist in its neighborhood. 

The moose, when pursued, trots off with great rapidity, but in an awkward manner, its 
hoofs at the same time making a cracking noise. At this gait it soon leaves the hunter far 
behind, . stepping with great ease over fallen timber of the largest size. When hard pressed 
by the hunters on snow-shoes, if it breaks up uito a gallop), they are sure of overtaking it soon. 
Its flesh is much esteemed, and the meat of the young can scarcely be distinguished from tlie 
best veal. The nose and tongue are particularly considered great dainties. The moose, 
when taken young, is easily domesticated, and has been used in this State for draught. I am 
not aware, however, that they possess any advanta:ge for such purposes over our common beasts 
of burden ; and their preference for twigs and bark of trees, instead of grasses, would render 
them not very desirable to the farmer who cared for the growth of his plantation. 

The Moose inhabits the northern parts of both continents. In America, they range to the 
Arctic Sea ; and I am enabled to state, from personal knowledge, that their extreme southern 
limit along the Atlantic coast is 43° 30' in tlie State of New- York. 



C. macrotis. (Richardson, pi. 20.) Cxreyish, with a black tipped tail ; ears large ; horns with three 

branches ; forehead dark brown. About the size of the Common Deer. Plains of Missouri. 
C. leucurus. (Richardson, p. 258, not figiued.) Reddish brown in sununer, light grey in winter. 

Tail long, white beneath and at tip. Size of Common Deer, to which it is closely allied. Rocky 

C. nemoralis. (Smith, Griffith's Cuv. Vol.4, plate.) Greyish brown tinged with yellow ; forehead 

and nose black. Horns branched at tip, the anterior branch curved forward like a hook. Loui- 



Horns in the male only ; round, very large, never iMlmatcd, furnished with a distinct fnuzzle. 
Canine teeth in the males in the upper jaw, sub-orbital ; sinus large. 


Elaphus canaden.sis. 


Cervus canadensis. Ray, Synops. Quad. p. 84. 

C. strongyloceros. ScHREBEB, Saugethiere, Vol. 2, p. 1074, pi. 247, F. o. 

Alces americamts. Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, p. 77. 

Elk. Smith, Med. Repos. Vol. 2, p. 157, figure. (Male, female, yov\ng.) 

C. wapiti. Barton, Med. and Phys. Jour. Vol. 3, p. 36. Fred. Cuvier, Mamm. Vol. 2. Male (winter dress) 

C. canadensis. Harlan, Fauna, p. 230. Godman, Vol.2, p. 294, figure. (Male.) 

Wapiti. Griffitli's Cuvier, Vol. 4, p. 90, plate (male); and Vol. 5, p. 309. 

C. strongyloceros. Richardson, F. B. A. Vol. 1, p. 251. 

Characteristics. Grey, with a large pale yellowish spot on its rump. Horns large, with large 
brow antlers. Tail very short. Larger than the common deer. 

Descriptio7i. Body robust, symmetrical, slightly more elevated at the withers than on the hind 
quarters. Height at the foreshouldcrs varying from four feet to four feet eight inches. Sub- 
orbital sinus with a naked triangular space around it. Muzzle broad and black. Ears large 
and white within. Males with canine teeth in the upper jaw. On the foreshoulder, a short 
rudimentary mane. Under the throat, there is a sort of dewlap, composed of black hair from 
four to six inches long. Horns large, with the brow antlers nearly or quite in the direction of 
the facial line. Females without horns or dewlaps ; the tail in both sexes very short. 

Color. The variation produced by age or sex is but slight. In the spring, it is of a reddish 
hue, changing as the summer advances to a yellowish brown ; in the autumn, this changes to 
a bufT color, which becomes grey in winter. The rump is pale fawn or yellowish, circum- 


scribed by a dark circular marginal line. Limbs on the anterior part deep brown. Chin light- 
colored. Tail yellowish. 

Total length, 84-0 -90-0. Length of tail, . . 2-0- 4-0. 

Length of head, . 24-0. Height, .52 • - 56 • 0. 

The American Stag has long been confounded with the Stags of Europe. It seems first to 
have been treated as a distinct species by Ray, in the work cited above. It was then noticed 
by .lefferson as an elk, but was first fully described and figured by Dr. Smith in the Medical 
Repository, from living individuals obtained from the State of Maine. It has also, from the 
popular names applied to it, been confounded with the American Moose just noticed. It is 
called in various parts of the country, Red Deer, Stag, Grey Moose, La BicJie, Wapiti, Grey 
Elk, and Round-horned Elk. 

It is surprising that for so large, and in some districts so common an animal, so little is 
known of its habits. They feed on grass and the young shoots of trees, and are represented 
as being easily tamed, and have been trained to go in harness. Hearne observes that they are 
the most stupid of the deer kind, and make a shrill whistling noise, not very unhke the braying 
of an ass. Other writers, however, represent them as exceedingly astute and war}^, exercising 
great sagacity to avoid the snares of the hunter. 

Major Smith, in Griffith's Cuvier, has given the fullest account of the American Stag ; but 
there are a few inaccuracies in that description, which it may not be improper to notice. He 
describes the horns of a specimen shot on Long Island, with six antlers each, and measuring 
tliree feet in length. My friend T. Floyd Jones, Esq., living at Oysterbay, Queens county, 
has had in his possession for many years a very large pair, sent to him from the west, and it 
is possibly to these that Major Smith alludes ; but there is not even traditionary evidence of 
its having existed on Long Island since its first settlement by the Europeans. 

The Stag is stdl found in the State of New-York, but very sparingly, and will doubtless be 
extirpated before many years. Mr. Beach, an intelligent hunter on the Raquet, assured me that 
in 1836, he shot at a stag, (or as he called it, an elk,) on the north branch of the Saranac. 
He had seen many of the horns, and describes this one as much larger than the biggest buck 
{C . virginianus), viiXh immense long and rounded horns, with many short antlers. His ac- 
count was confirmed by another hunter, Vaughan, wlio killed a stag at nearly the same place. 
They are found in the northwestern counties of Pennsylvania, and the adjoining counties of 
New-York. In 1834, I am informed by Mr. Philip Church, a stag was killed at Bolivar, 
Allegany county. My informant saw the animal, and his description corresponds exactly 
v/ith this species. 




PLATE XXIX. FIG. 1. Tooth, natural size; horns and posterior parts of skull reduced. 

Fossil Deer. WisTAR, Am. Trans. Vol. 1, p. 377, New Series, pi. 10, fig. 4. 
Cervus amerkanus. Harlan, Fauna Americana, p. 245. 
Fossil Deer. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 82. 

In the Cabinet of the Lyceum of Natural History, New-York, is a portion of a pair of 
horns attached to a fragment of skull, dug up near the mouth of the Raquet river in this State, 
near the forty-fifth parallel of latitude. It bears a label in the handwriting of Dr. Mitchill, 
purporting that it belonged to the C. tarandus, or Rein-deer. Its size and appearance indi- 
cates a nearer affinity to the E. canadensis, or Stag just described. The following com^jarisou 
was made of this fossil with a gigantic pair of horns of the E. canadensis, in the Cabinet of 
the Lyceum. These latter measured three feet five inches across from tip to tip, and two feet 
ten inches high from burr to tip in a straight line. 

FOSSIL. recent. 

Distance from between the horns to the occipital ridge, 4'1 4" 8 

Breadth of cranium behind the horns, 4"5 4'6 

Ditto above the condyloid processes, 6'0 6'0 

Depth across the occif)ital foramen, 4' 4 4*5 

Circumference of horn above the bun-, 9'6 9"0 

From tijJ to tip, compared with corresponding points on the 

recent specimen, 40 '0 44 '0 

In the fossil, the horns present the same grooved and ridged appearance as in the American 
Stag; they rise outward, upward, and slightly backward, then forward and upward. Indica- 
tions of one or two antlers are evident. The figure in the plate will give a better idea of the 
appearance and direction of the horns, than a detailed description. Through the carelessness 
of the engraver, the posterior view of the skull is represented as being of the natural size. 

I am unacquainted with the circumstances under which this skull was found, but have ven- 
tured to arrange it provisionally with the bones described by Wistar and Harlan in the work 
cited above. Dr. Emmons has described a tooth, taken from a clay bed in Chautauque county 
in 1839. It is an old tooth, and is the last on the right side of the upper jaw. Through the 
kindness of Dr. Emmons, I have been permitted .to give a figure of the tooth. The following 
are its dimensions : 

Depth, 1 • 3. 

Transverse diameter of the crown, 1 • 5. 

Shortest diameter, 1"2. 

The surface of the crown is too much injured, to enable mc to render it with perfect accuracj\ 
I learn that other teeth from the same locality, but larger, are in the .Cabinet of Yale College. 


I regret that I have liad no opportunities of making a direct comparison of this tooth with that 
of the American stag. A horn of the second year's growth was thrown out by a plough on 
Grand Isle, which is now in the Cabinet of the University of Vermont, which"we also refer 
to the same species. 


From tip to base in a straight line, 28" 50. 

Ditto ditto, measured along the curve, 33 " 50. 

Circumference just above the tuberosities, 7'25. 

Ditto at the highest part of the curve, 4 " 50. 

Ditto at five inches from the tip, 3' 25. 

Dr. Emmons appears disposed to consider the relics in question as having belonged to a 
larger anirnal than the American Stag, and analogous to the Irish Elk ; this, however, is 
merely offered as a conjecture. In the present imperfect state of our knowledge, I view it as 
a distinct species, closely allied to the E. canadensis. 


Hm-ns in both sexes. Canine teeth in both sexes. Muzzle small. Horns slender, smooth, 
palmated. Sub-orbital sinus. 

THE REIN- DEER. (Extirpated?) 

Rangifer tarandus. 


drvus tarandus. LiN. Syst. p. 93. 
Caribou of the old French writers. 

C. tarandus. Harlan, Fauna Americana, p. 232. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 283, plate. Richardso.n, F. U. 
A. Vol. 1, p. 238, figures. Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 78. 

Characteristics. Varying in color from deep brown to greyish white. About the size of tlie 
common deer. 

Description. Body robust, and low on the legs. Snout thin, with oblique nostrils. Ears 
large. Horns usually slender, very variable in form : They generally consist of brow antlers, 
which are palmate and digitate ; the main stem directed backward, then curving forward, 
with simple or palmated antlers, or else terminating in a broad palmated expansion, which is 
often furnished with points. Legs robust. Hoofs rounded, consisting of a single plate folded 
on itself, very broad, with a strong fringe of hairs around it. Fur close and compact, but com- 
posed of two portions, one woolly, the other longer, straight and brittle. 

Fauna. 16 


Color. Varying witli age and season. Young, brownish above, witli a tinge of reddish 
beneath. Adults, in the summer, in a smooth coat of greyish brown, becoming rougher and 
whiter in winter. Benealli, the throat, belly and insides white at all seasons. 

It is with muclijiesitation that I include this animal in the Fauna of our State ; but the 
representations of hunters lead me to suspect, that when the yet unexplored parts of the 
State have been more thoroughly examined, its existence may be disclosed. Pennant, in his 
time, asserted that the Rein-deer was not found farther south than the most northern part of 
Canada. Charlevoix, however, saw one killed at Quebec. The specimen in the cabinet of 
the Medical College at Albany came from Nova-Scotia ; and Harlan asserts that it does not 
pass the State of Maine into the United States, implying its existence there. Prof. Emmons 
observes, " It is only a few years since this animal appeared in the northern parts of Vermont 
" and New-Hampshire ; from which it is not unreasonable to infer, that in earlier times it may 
" have passed still farther south." Its gregarious habits and unsuspicious character would 
seem to ensure its speedy destruction, when placed within the reach of man. 


Body shaped like a fish. Fore feet two, in the shape of fins. In place of hind feet, thei-e 
is a broad horizontal fin. Ears consist of a minute exterior opening. Without hair, or a 
few scattering ones only. Live exclusively in the water, only coming out to breathe. 

This order comprises whales, porpoises and dolphins, generally considered by uninstructed 
observers as fishes. It is divided by Cuvier into two great sections, the Herbivorous and 
Piscivorous. In the first we find the 


With two kinds of teeth in the young. Molars with flat crowns. Nostrils placed near the 
end of the muzzle, in the skin. Long whiskers. Teats pectoral. No spiracle. Scatter- 
ing short hairs over the body. 

Obs. This family comprises about five living species, one of which is found near our shores, 
but none within the hmits of this State. 



Genus Manatus. Grinders eighteen above and eighteen below ; the upper square, the lower longer 

than wide, all with two transverse ridges and a heel; becoming larger on the lower posterior ones. 

Pectoral fins with vestiges of nails at their edges. Body ending in a rounded caudal fin. 

M. americanus. (PI. 30, fig. 2, a, b; and PI. 32, fig. 4, Skull.) Body elliptical; snout truncated; 

skull elongated in proportion to its breadth ; lower edge of the lower jaw straight. Tail rounded. 

Length 10-20 feet. Florida. 

The Manati is still hunted for its flesh, among the keys and lagoons scattered along the southern 
part of the peninsula of Florida. They are struck with the harpoon. The largest of which I have 
heard any account, weighed more than a ton. The flesh is highly prized as a savory and nutri- 
tive food. The New World of October, 1841, contains an interesting account of the habits of this 
species ; the female is described as having a teat under each swimming paw. Through the polite- 
ness of Mr. Bell, I have been permitted to make the following observations on the skull of the 
Manati, which died a few months after I had drawn up the description cited above. It was a yoimg 
animal, as was manifest by the existence of the sockets of the incisors in the intermaxillaries of the 
upper jaw. There were five prominent molars on each side, gradually enlarging behind, and then 
not yet extruded. In the lower jaw, the teeth were similar in number and position. The curve of 
the lower jaw (see figure) is nearly as great as in the Senegal species, and almost equals that of the 
M. latirostris. (Harlan, Med. and Phys. Res. p. 71, plate.) Lower edge of lower jaw curved; 

snout very wide before the eyes. Length 8-10 feet. Florida. 
M. giganteus. Fossil. (Id. lb. Vol. 20, p. 385.) Western shore of Maryland. 

Genus Zeuglodon, Owen. (Fossil.) Twelve molars in the upper jaw; in the lower, . Teeth 

with double fangs and a horizontal section of the crowns, suggesting the idea of two teeth tied or 

yoked together ; hence the generic name. 

Z. harlani. (Owen, Geol. Soc. Lond. 1838; Loud. Mag. 1839, p. 209. Basilosaurus, Harlan, 

Am. Phil. Soc. 1834; Med. and Phys. Res. p. 349.) From eighty to one hundred feet long. 

Occurs in the horizontal limestone of Alabama, the most recent of the cretaceous group ; also in 



Teeth none, or only in the lower jaw ; when absent, their place supplied above hy thin horny 
plates termed baleen, or whalebone. Skin smooth, and almost entirely destitute of hairs ; 
with a thick mass of fat beneath. Two inguinal teats, placed near the vent. Nostrils 
assuming the form of spiracles . Gregarious. Piscivorous; often carnivorous. 

Obs. This family comprises the most bulky of created beings. They have a strong exter- 
nal resemblance to fish ; and to increase this resemblance, many of them liave a callous 
projection on the back, like a dorsal fin. Upwards of seventeen species have been enume- 
rated by writers, but many of them rest upon uncertain aiithority. The history of this family 


is still enveloped in great obscurity ; and their habits, from the nature of the element in which 
they exist, are little known. They are highly useful to man, producing valuable articles of 
commerce, and creating an excellent nursery for seamen. 

GENUS BAL^NA. Linnem. 

Head very large. No teeth. Upper jaw furnished with numerous ijlates of whalebone. 
Spiracles two, distinct, on the j?iost elevated part of the head, just before the eyes. No 
dorsal elevation or fin . 


Bal«:na mysticetus. 


Balicna mysticetus. LlNNEUS, Syst. p. 105. 

Common Whale. Dudley, Phil. Trans. Abridg. Vol. 7, p. 424. Scoeesby, Arct. Reg. Vol. I, p. 449, figure, 
Vol. 3, p. 98. 

Characteristics. Black, occasionally varied with white or yellowish. Gape of the mouth 
arched with about 600 laminae of whalebone. Length 40 - 60 feet. 

Description. Body thickest in the middle, a little behind the fore paws; somewhat furrowed, 
tapering towards the tail. Head large, somewhat triangular. Opening of mouth large, with 
a few scattering hairs on the end of the jaws. Eyes very small, and placed near the corner 
of the mouth. External ear exceedingly minute. Spiracles two, oblong, adjacent, slightly 
largish in front. Palate and sides of upper jaw with two rows of whalebone from ten to thirteen 
feet long, and generally curved longitudinally, and giving an arched form to the roof of the 
mouth. Each series consists of three hundred laminae or more of whalebone, the interior edges 
of which are covered with a hair-like fringe. Swimming paws rounded, somewhat pointed, 
7-9 feet long, with a width of 4 or 5 feet, and situated about two feet behind the angle of 
the mouth. Tail very broad, notched in the centre, curved on the edges, and pointed at the tips. 

Color. Blackish throughout ; occasionally with a small space under the body, and a larger 
space on the lower jaw, whitish grey or flesh color. Very old individuals become varied witli 
white and black, or piebald. 

Weight from 60 to 100 tons. 


This huge animal is known along our coast by the various names of True, Right, Conunon 
and Whalebone Whale. Of its habits little can be said, except that after a presumed gestation 
of nine months, it jjroduccs one at a birth, which it suckles for about a year. The milk is 
said to be rich and well flavored. It exhibits great maternal fondness for its offspring, and 
although at other times remarkably timid, manifests great boldness, and even ferocity, in dc- 


fending her young. It was formerly found in every part of the ocean in large troops ; but since 
its capture has become an object of commercial enterprise, it has been driven from the shores 
of Europe and North America, and is now pursued on the coasts of Africa, in the Indian ocean 
and the Arctic seas. From the structure of its jaws, and" the smallness of its throat, it can 
only feed on the smaller oceanic animals, such as medust'e or sea-jellies, shrimps, crabs, and 
some minute mollusca. These would at first appear to be insufficient for such huge monsters ; 
but when we examine the waters to which they resort, and which are termed their feeding 
grounds, our wonder ceases. Off the coast of Brazil, I have passed over hundreds of miles 
where these minute animals were so numerous as to discolor the water, giving it the appear- 
ance of wheat scattered over a reddish sand-bank. These are termed by the whalers, the Brazil 
banks, and thither they have resorted of late years in pursuit of the whale. Scoresby has 
estimated, that in similar places in the Arctic seas, twenty-three quadrillions of such animalcule 
are distributed over a surface of two square miles. 

The whale fishery in this country, as in others, has been pursued with various success, and 
is even now subject to frequent fluctuations. The first vessel constrQcted expressly^for this 
fishery, was a small sloop built at Nantucket in 1690. She was merely intended for cruising 
along shore. In 1715, the number of similar sloops was but fifteen ; and from this period it 
went on increasing up to the war of the Revolution, when it was utterly destroyed by the 

In 1799, we employed 26 vessels, of 5055 tons. 

1800, " 17 " 2814 " 

1801, " 15 " 2349 " 

1802, " 20 " 3201 " 

Of this last number, only one was fitted out from this State. It appears also that the business 
fell off very much from 1790 in the succc'^.ding ten years, as may be seen by the following 
tables : . ' . 

1791, we exported 134,595 galls, sperm oil; 1802, we exported 28,470 galls, sperm oil; 

447,323 galls, whale oil ; 379,976 galls, whale oil; 

82,400 lbs. sperm candles ; -135,637 lbs. sperm candles; 

124,829 lbs. whalebone, 80,334 lbs. whalebone. 

The Right Whale was formerly captured in great numbers from sloops and whale-boats, 
along our whole coast, chiefly from February to May, although tliey appeared occasionally at 
all seasons of the year. Along the southern coast of Long Island, whale boats are still kept 
in readiness ; and upon the appearance of a whale, the people in the vicinity quickly assemble, 
and are soon in pursuit of the animal. The whale fishery, which includes not only this 
species, but also the Sperm Whale, is pursued in its various branches with gi-eat success, 
either by associations or by individuals. Ever}'' person employed is a shareholder, and of 
course this presents an additional motive for exertion. From a record kept at New-Bedford, 
which we have inserted below, it appears that the whole number of vessels employed in the 



whale fishery, in the year ending September, 1839, was 557, making an aggregate of 169,938 
tons, which would give employment to 9,987 men, and to as many more on shore, in the 
various operations of coopering, refining, etc. etc. 




Fairhaven, . . , 
Dartmouth, .. 
AVestport, . . . . 
Wareham, . . . 
Rochester, . . . 
Nantucket,. .. 
Edgartown, . . 
Holmes Hole, 
Fall River, . . . 


Plymouth, . . . 



Dorchester, . . 
Falmouth, . . . 
Portland, . . . . 
"Wiscasset, . . . 
Portsmouth, . 
Newport, .... 


Warren, . . . . 
Providence, . . 
Stonington, . . 


Sag-Harbor, . . 
Greenport, . . . 
New-Suffolk, . 
Jamesport, . . . 
Bridgeport, . . . 
New- York,. .. 


Cold Spring, . 
Wilmington, , 
























































































The amount of whale and sperm oil and whalebone introduced into the United States, and 
the total value of the same at estimated average prices from actual sales during the four years 
preceding 1839, is as follows : 


In 1835, $6,168,997 00 

In 1836, 5,689,814 00 

In 1837, 7,357,553 00 

In 1838, 6,156,038 00 

In this State, the whale fishery has been successfully pursued. From returns obligingly 
communicated to mc by the Collector of the Port of New- York, it appears that within the past 
year (1838) sixteen vessels of 5538 tons and 320 men, were employed from that port in the 
whale fishery. The produce was, 

Sperm oil, .. 177,346 galls. Value, $181,42100 

Whale oil, .. 605,497 galls. " 209,438 00 

Whalebone, . 186,448 lbs. " 32,124 00 

Total value, $422,983 00 

From the Collector at Sag-Harbor for the same period, I have received the following state- 
ment : 

Sperm oil, .. 125,240 galls. Value, $125,240 00 

Whale oil,.. 959,295 galls. " 319,760 00 

Whalebone, . 236,000 lbs. " 42,480 00 

Total value, $487,485 00 

From another source, we gather the following information connected with the whale fishery 
from one district alone in this State. It is the district which comprises the three counties of 
Kings, Queens and Suffolk, on Long Island. 

During the year ending December 31, 1840, there arrived within that district, between the 
second of May and the twelfth of October, nineteen vessels, with the following gross amount : 

Sperm oil, 109,588 galls. 

Whale oil, 937,234 galls. 

Whalebone, 232,182 lbs., 

valued at something over half a million of dollars. 

During the year 1840, between June 16 and December 20, there sailed from the same dis- 
trict twenty vessels. Their destinations were, fourteen for the South Atlantic Ocean ; two 
for the Indian Ocean ; and for New-Holland, New-Zealand, Crozett Islands and the North- 
west Coast, one each. On the first of January, 1841, there were still absent, in addition to 
the foregoing, nineteen vessels, all on voyages to the Indian Ocean and New-Zealand. These 
had departed between the twelfth of June, 1838, and the twenty-sixth of August, 1839. Se- 
veral of them, however, arrived within the present year. The average duration of those 
whalers which returned in 1840, was short of sixteen months. 

Those vessels employed in the right whale fishery, are absent on an average twelve months. 
In pursuit of the spermaceti whale, the duration of the voyage often extends to three years. 


From more recent information, we are enabled to state, that at the close of the year 1841, 
our whaling squadron, out of all the States, amounted to 650 sail of all classes, presenting an 
aggregate tonnage of 190,374, and employing 13,500 men in the actual prosecution of their 


Head enormously large, truncated in front. Twenty or more stout, conical, suhequal teeth 
on each side of the loiver jaw, rudimentary above. Spiracles vnited into one, near the end 
of the jaw. 

This genus is remarkable, not only for its bulk, but for the valuable article of commerce, 
termed spermaceti, whicli is found chiefly in large cells in the upper part of the head. ' Seven 
species have been enumerated by compilers, but we shall follow Cuvier in considering but 
one species as yet sufficiently identified. We prefer retaining the original name of Physeter, 
to the barbarous provincial epithet of Cachalot. 


Phvseter macrocepiialus. 

PLATE XXXI. FIG. 2. — (Jaws in the Cabinet of the Lyceum.) 

Cachalot jnacrocephalf. Lacepede, Hist. Nat. Get. pi. 10, fig. 1. 
Physeter nuvcrocephalus. Shaw, Gen. Zool. Vol. 2, p. 49. ■ 
77ie Spermaceti Whale. Naturalist's Library, Vol. 6, p. 154. 

Characteristics. Black or darkish above ; tliroat and beneath, silvery grey. A very small 
dorsal elevation towards the tail. Length 60 .- 80 feet. 

Description. Head forming one-third of its bulk ; its anterior part truncated or obtuse, over- 
hanging the lower jaw. Eyes small, and said to be unequal. Spiracle shaped like the letter 
f, on the anterior part of the head, in the centre of an elevated protuberance. Swimming paws 
short, obtusely pointed. Openings to the ear sufficiently large to admit a small quill. Teeth 
in the lower jaw conical, pointed, not acute ; in some individuals, amounting to twenty-seven. 
In the upper jaw there are also teeth, but very small and rudimentary. The lips overhang 
and conceal the opening of the mouth. 

C^olor. Generally brownish black or jet black, somewhat lighter on the sides, and beneath 
a silvery grey. There is often a considerable variety in their markings, but the old males are 
generally light grey on the anterior part of the head. 

The Sperm Whale is gi-egarious, and often found in herds of from two to five hundred. 
They are said to feed on fish, and a species of sepia or cuttle-fish. Although they resort to 
the same feeding grounds with the Right Whale, it is not probable that, with their large teeth 
and powerful jaws, they subsist on the same minute food. TJie sperm oil is found in great 


abundance in a large cavity in the upper part of the head, above the brain. It is also obtained 
from the blubber, which varies in thickness from eight to fourteen inches. A moderate sized 
whale will yield fifty to eighty barrels. In a few rare cases, we have known them to furnish 
one hundred and twenty barrels. 

Although a timid animal, the Sperm Whale will sometimes turn with fury upon its pur- 
suers, and destroy boats and men. Upon one occasion, a large whale attacked the whale-ship 
Essex, stove in its bows, when she filled and sunk ; the crew took to the boats, and after 
unheard of suffering, landed on the coast of Peru ; three only of the crew survived. 

The Sperm Whale was formerly numerous on our coast, where it is still occasionally cap- 
tured. Sixty years ago, the pursuit of the whale was considered so characteristic of American 
hardihood and enterprise, as to have elicited from the English orator Burke the following elo- 
quent tribute : " While we are carrying on the whale fishery under the arctic circle, we hear 
" that they have pierced into the opposite region of polar cold ; that they are at the antipodes, 
■' and engaged under the frozen serpent of the south. Falkland Island, which seems too remote 
" and too romantic an object for the grasp of national ambition, is but a stage and resting place 
•' for their victorious industry. Nor is the equatorial heat more discouraging to them than the 
" accumulated winter of both poles. We learn that while some draw the line or strike the 
" harpoon on the coast of Africa, others run the longitude, and pursue their gigantic game 
"along the coast of Brazil. No sea but what is vexed with their fisheries ; no climate that 
" is not witness of their toil. Neither the perseverance of Holland, nor the dextrous and firm 
" sagacity of English enterprise ever carried this most perilous mode of hardy industry to the 
" extent to which it has been pursued by this recent people ; a people who are still in the 
" gristle, and not hardened into manhood." Since that period, how extended the field of our 
labors ! The broad Atlantic has become too limited an arena for exertion. A new antarctic 
continent has been discovered and coasted, among the thick-ribbed ice. The Gallipagos, 
New-Zealand, the Coast of Japan, are but resting places, and the farthest limits of ocean only, 
bound the ardor of our daring navigators. 


Head not disproportionately large. Jaws somewhat pointed, and rostrated. An acute pro- 
tuberance on the hack, resembling a dorsal fin. No teeth. Short baleen in the upper jaw. 
Deep folds on the throat and abdomen. 

Fauna. 17 


THE beak:ed rorqual 



Batcma rostrata. Fabricius, Faun. Greenland, p. 40. 
Bal(cnoptcTa acuto-rostrata. Lacepede, Get. p. 134, pi. 4. 
B. roslrata. ScoRESBY, Aret. Regions. 
Rorqualm minor. Knox, Nat. Lib. Vol. C, p. 142, pi, 7. 

Characteristics. Bluish black ; gi-eyish white beneath, with numerous flesh-colored folds on 
the throat and belly. Baleen white, divided into 320 plates on each side. 
Vertebra; 48. Length 16- 25 feet. 

Description. Body cylindrical, and gently tapering from the swimming paws to the head 
and tail ; towards the tail the body becomes much compressed, and forms a ridge which runs 
a few inches on the tail. Head smaller than the body, long, narrow and pointed ; the outline 
of the head separated from the dorsal outline by a slight depression. The upper mandible, 
from the commencement of the baleen, is 42 "0 long, and 4'0 shorter than the lower, into 
which it is received ; furnished with baleen of a whitish color, which has a hoary appearance 
on its fringed edges. The laminae, as nearly as could be ascertained by repeated countings, 
amount to three hundred and twenty on each side ; they were of various lengths, from two 
to eleven inches, gradually increasing from the snout posteriorly. The spiracles two, placed 
at the extremity of the ridge on the upper jaw, a little forward of a line drawn upwards from 
the eyes : They are 7 " long, and gradually approach each other to within " 75 in front ; pos- 
teriorly they are 3'0 apart, and are separated from each other by a deep furrow 9"0 long. 
Lower jaw acute, rather stouter, and 4" longer than the upper. Eyes large, but appear 
small, as they are much covered by the eyelids ; a deep furrow above and beneath, placed 
above and near the angle of the mouth. The ears not visible, but their situation is determined 
by a very slight change in the appearance of the skin, which yields rather more than the sur- 
rounding parts to pressure ; they are about 5'0 behind and a little below the eyes. Tongue 
large, free and very fat ; beneath it the skin of the throat is very dilatable. Roof of the mouth 
smooth. No vestige of a tooth c ould be seen or felt in the lower jaw. Swimming paws 25 ' 
long, oblong, tapering, and attached vertically to the body about two-thirds of the distance 
from the dorsal protuberance to the angle of the mouth. (In the figure this is incorrectly given.) 
Dorsal eminence leathery, elastic, triangular, a foot high, broad at the base, and placed above 
the vent. Tail horizontal, bilobate, its tips pointed. Chin and throat with numerous furrows 
0-5 to 1 '0 deep, extending some distance over the abdomen, and presenting a waved appear- 
ance on the chin and throat. 

Color. Bluish black above, pearly white beneath, but this has changed to a faint pink, 
especially in the furrows, owing, I imagine, to the settling of the blood in those parts. Lips 
white. Swimming paws white in the middle, black at the base and extremities. Under side 
of the tail whitish. 


Dimensions. Total length eighteen feet. From the posterior fold of the swimming paw to 
the notch in the middle of the tail, eleven feet six inches. Girth at the swimming paws thir- 
teen feet. Tail seventeen inches deep, and four feet nine inches across from tip to tip. 

I had no opportunity of determining its sex, but was informed that it was a female. 

The above description was taken from a whale captured in the lower bay of New-York 
in 1822. 



BattETia tripinnis vuixilla inferiore rotunda. Sibbald, Phalainologia, Tab. 3. 
Balmna boops, Lac^pSde. Mitchill, Med. Repos. Vol. 7, p. 416. 
Broad-nosed Whate. ScoRESBY. 
Rorqxmlus borealis. Knox, Nat. Libr. Vol. G, p. 125, pi. 5. 

Characteristics. Baleen divided into four or five thousand plates. Larger than the preceding. 
Vertebra3 65. Length 50 - 105 feet. 

Description. Body not cylindrical, but compressed on the sides, and angular on the back. 
Head smaller than in BalcEna. Dorsal elevation very small, triangular, opposite to the vent. 
Swimming paws placed far back, long, slender, and pointed at the tips. Baleen 314 plates 
on each side, extending about fifteen inches, and succeeded by a great number of smaller plates, 
gradually changing to bristles. Vertebrae 65. The largest vertebraj are 14 inches in the 
diameter of their bodies, and from 6-7 feet from tip to tip of their transverse processes. 

Color. Uniform black above, light beneath. Folds pale white, occasionally reddish. 

These two species resemble each other so much as to have been confounded together, until 
the careful examination and comparison of two recent specimens enabled Dr. Knox to establish 
their specific differences. The species is introduced here upon the authority of Dr. Mitchill, 
who has furnished a very brief notice of a large whale exhibited in New-York in 1804. It 
grounded, and was captured near Reedy Island in the Delaware. The following is all the 
information furnished : " Length 38 feet ; circumference 18 feet ; expanse of the jaws at the 
" extremity, 8 feet. No teeth in either jaw. Whalebone one to two feet long in the upper 
" jaw, of a grey hairy appearance." This is very meagre, but is enough to indicate that it 
should probably be referred to the above species. That it was clearly not the young of the 
Right Whale, B. mysticetus, is manifest from the absence of a dorsal elevation, which led 
Mitchill to refer it to the B. hoops ; while its size and the peculiar appearance of the baleen, 
would lead us to arrange it under the present species. It was a young individual. 


Rorqualis australis. In 1837, the skull of a large whale was exhibited in New- York, under the im- 
posing name of " Fossil Head of the Sea Serpent." It was reported to have been dug up near the 
BaUze, Louisiana, and was in the condition of a graveyard bone. It had been probably stranded, 


and subsequently covered by the rapidly forming sediment of the Mississippi. The lower jaw was 
wanting-. The skull, with the upper jaw, was perfect, and measured fifteen feet. After a careful 
examination and comparison, it was identified with the Rorqualis australis, or Balanopiera of the 
Cape of Good Hope, described and figured by Cuvier (Oss. Foss. Vol. 5, part 1, p. 370, pi. 26, 
figs. I, 2, 3, 4). A reduced figure, from a larger one taken on the spot, will be found on Plate 33, 
fig. 4. 


Teeth in both jaws, often numerous. No baleen. Other characters in common with the 
preceding family. Gregarious. 

Obs. Sixteen species, included under seven genera, belong to this family. They are generally 
small, but some of them equal in bulk the largest of the preceding family. 


Head globular ; the rostrum not produced. Mouth subterminal, beneath. A dorsal eminence 
resembling a fin. Spiracle single. 

Obs. This small group contains at present two living and one fossil species. On our coast, 
we have frequently 


Globicephalus melas. 
plate xxx. fig. 3. 

Delplanus melas. TiuiL, Nicholson's Journal, Vol.22, p. 81, 1809, figure. 
D. globiceps. CnviEE, Mem. Mus. Vol. 19, p. 1, 1812, figure. 
D.deductoT. ScouESBY, Arct. Regions, Vol.1, p. 496, figure. 
D. intermedius. HiELAN, Ac. Sciences, Vol. 6, p. 51, pi. 1. 
Phocena globiceps. Sampson, Am. Journal, Vol.23, p. 301, figure. 

Characteristics. Uniform black above ; lighter beneath. Teeth varying from 18 - 28 in each 
jaw. Swimming paws long and pointed. Length 15 to 20 feet. 

Description. Body cylindrical, tapering to the tail, and ending in front in an obtuse globular 
head. Upper jaw somewhat advanced before the lower. Teeth equidistant, sharp, conical, 
incurved at the point, the largest eight inches in length ; they are not apparent in the young, 
and appear to vary in number with age. In an adult specimen, they were 28 in each jaw. 
Spiracle single, and placed on the back of the head. Sides of the tail carinated ; the tail itself 
strangulated at the base. The dorsal eminence triangular, broad at base, sixteen inches high, 
immovable, and placed six feet from the moutli. Swimming paws long, narrow and tapering, 
sixteen inches in length. 


Color. Shining, bluish black above. A narrow space extending from the throat to the 
vent, of a light grey color. 
Length twenty feet. 

The dimensions here given, were from an adult of the largest size. This cetaceous animal, 
so remarkable for its loud cries when excited, has received in our country various popular 
names. It is called Black Whale-fish, Howling Whale, Social Whale, and Bottle-head. It 
resembles the Grampus in size, and is probably often confounded with it. It appears to have 
been first noticed by Egede in his History of Greenland, and subsequently figured by Duha- 
mel (Hist. Poiss. pi. ix. fig. 5). They are often seen in large herds, which, from some cause 
as yet unexplained, are frequently stranded, and perish on the coast. Tiie books are full of 
instances of such occurrences on the shores of Europe, more particularly in the high northern 
latitudes. At Wellfleet, near Cape Cod, in 1822, a herd of one hundred of these social 
whales, varying in length from ten to fifteen feet, were stranded and captured. In the cotem- 
porary newspaper notices, it was stated that they had been formerly numerous on that coast, 
but had not appeared there for many years. In September, 1823, a single one was taken in 
Salem harbor, and described by Dr. Harlan as Delphinus intermedius. In October, 1832, 
another individual came ashore at Fairfield beach, Connecticut, and was described by Mr. 
Sampson. In 1834, I received an account of the capture of two others on the east end of 
Long Island. The details furnished on that occasion enabled me to refer them with exactness 
to this species. 


Head rounded, not much elevated. Mouth terminal. Snout short and rounded. Teeth 
varying in number. Dorsal eminence as in the preceding. Usually of a small size. Gre- 
garious. Piscivoi'ous. 


Phocjena communis. 

Delphinus phocmna. LlNNECs. Gmelin. 
Porpesse. Pennant, Brit. Zool. Vol. 3, p. 93. 
D.phoctETia. Desmarest, Mammalogie, p. 516. 
Sea Swine. GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 3, p. 69. 

Characteristics. Under jaw slightly longest. Twenty to twenty-five teeth on each side in 
both jaws, straight, compressed, and rounded at the tips. Length 4 to 5 

Description. Body elongated, tapering towards the tail. Skin smooth. Snout short and 
obtuse. Eyes small, and placed behind the angle of the moutli. Auditory hole very small. 
Spiracle single, on the top of the head over the eves, crescent-shaped, with its concavity 


directed forward. Dorsal eminence broad, triangular, and nearly in the centre of the body. 
Swimming paws placed very low down, moderate, oval and obtusely pointed. Tail lunated. 

Colo?-. Dusky bluish black above ; whitish beneath, the two colors meeting on the sides. 
Swimming paws of the color above. 

Length four to five feet. 

The Porpoise, or Porpess, is common in our rivers and bays, chiefly in the spring and sum- 
mer months, when they appear in the train of the migratory Clupida, among which they 
make gi-cat havoc. This species has been confounded with another cetaceous animal of the 
same name, which is very rarely seen unless in the ocean off soundings. We allude to the 
Belphinus delphis, or Sea porpess, the Dolphin of the ancients. The common porpoises 
were formerly so abundant on the shores of Long Island, as to have induced the inhabitants 
to form establishments for their capture. In the Transactions of the Society in the State of 
New-York for the promotion of Agriculture, Arts and Manufactures, 4to. N. Y. 1792, will be 
found a paper by E. L'Hommcdieu, on the manner of taking porpoises at the east end of 
Long Island. A seine is prepared about five hundred feet long, witii cords about the size of 
ratlin stuff; the meslies are about nine inches square, and the seine from twenty to thirty feet 
deep. Tight casks of the size of ten gallon kegs, are used as buoys. The seine is then set 
parallel with the shore, at the distance of eighty rods, and secured by anchors at each end. 
Two other seines are made of large codline, with the mesiies six inches square. These are 
put in separate boats on the shore, opposite each end of the larger seine. Porpoises go in 
scholes, and in following the small fish, come between the shore and the great seine. As soon 
as they reach the middle of the seine, the boat at the far end heads tliem off, tlirowing out 
the light seine from the shore to the end of the great seine, to which it is fastened ; when 
both are thus fastened, and the anchors raised, the porpoises are imprisoned. Opposite the 
great seine, and parallel with it, on the shore, stout stakes are driven in about three rods apart, 
and a capstan placed at each. The small seines arc drawn in, and the boats are sent outside. 
As soon as the porpoises find themselves confined, and the water becomes shoal, they throw 
themselves against the bag of the seine with so much force, that it is necessary to ease the 
capstan to prevent the ropes parting. As soon as this is over, they do not make a second 
attempt, but become so gentle that the men wade in among them, and put a slip-noose over 
their tails, or secure them with harpoons, and drag them ashore : there they are all speedily 
despatched. The blubber, for which they are principally sought, varies from one to two 
indies in thickness, and yields upon an average six gallons of oil per porpoise. The blubber 
is cut through on the back and belly, and is peeled off in halves ; it is then scraped off with 
an instrument resembling a currier's knife, and the skin sent to the tanner. The leather 
made from this skin is said to be the strongest known, and is used more particularly for the 
upper leather of boots and shoes. 

The word porpoise, or porpesse, comes to us from tlie Latin through the French, Porc- 
poisxon. Grampus has a similar origin. 



Phoc^ena obca. 

PLATE XXXII. FIG. 1. Lower Jaw and Tooth. 

Delphinus orca. Fab. Faun. Green]. 

Killers. Dddley, Phil. Trans. 1719, p. 256 ; Abridg. Vol. 7, p. 424. 

D. gladiator et orca. Lacep. Vol. 15, p. 1. Bloch, Poiss. Vol. 10, p. 93 and 96. 

Grampus. HuNTEK, Phil. Trans. 1787, pi. 16. 

Grand'poisson, Grapois and Gramjnis, of the Normans and English. 

Kdlcr and Thrasher, of the American sailors. 

Characteristics. Upper jaw longest. Teeth conical, bent at their tips ; eleven on each side, 
above and below. Length 20 - 25 feet. 

Description. Body thick in proportion to its length, oval. Snout short and obtuse. Lower 
jaw broader than the upper. Teeth unequal, varying in number with age, but usually twenty- 
two in each jaw, and larger than in any other species of this genus. In the right side of a 
lower jaw which I had an opportunity of examining, the teeth were four inches long, and pro- 
jected two inches beyond the sockets ; the upper portion conical, with blunt points directed 
inward and backward ; the lower portion just above and within the sockets, compressed trans- 
versely, one and a half inches in diameter, in the other direction not exceeding one inch : all 
the teeth contracted at their bases. The dorsal elevation, miscalled a fin, is placed nearly on 
the middle of the body, pointed at the tip, and nearly four feet high. Swimming paws broad 
and oval. Tail lunate. 

Color. Glossy black above ; white beneath, the two colors separated by a well defined but 
irregular line. Occasionally a round or oblong patch of white above or behind the eye. 

Length, 20 - 25 feet. 

The Grampus, Finncr or Black-fish Whale, under which different names it is known to our 
fishermen, was formerly numerous on our coast, when the Right Whale was also abundant. 
I have seen them off the coast of Long Island, on several occasions. Paul Dudley, in an 
essay on the Natural History of Whales, in the English Philosophical Transactions, notices 
this species as the natural enemy of the whale : " Our whalemen have given this fish the 
" name of Killer. These killers are from twenty to thirty feet long, and have teeth in both 
" jaws, that lock one within the other. They have a fin near the middle of the back, four or 
" five feet long. They go in company by dozens, and will set upon a young whale, and will 
" bait him like so many bulldogs." The grampus is doubtless a voracious animal, living 
upon various large fish, and even seals and porpoises have been found in their stomachs ; but 
the stories of their attacking whales in packs, will perhaps require confirmation by competent 
authority. They arc very sportive in their habits ; and perhaps a large herd of them together, 
engaged in chasing and tumbling over each other, may have suggested to the lovers of the 
marvellous the idea of being occupied in attacking a whale. The grampus furnishes an 
excellent oil. 



Head more or less rounded, and separated from the elongated beak by a distinct fmrow. 
Teeth numerous. Dorsal eminence as in the preceding. 




Delphiiim delphis. LiNNEUs, 12 Ed. p. 108. 

D. delphis. Desmarest, Mammalogie, p. 514. 

The Tnic Dolphin. Godman, Am. Nat. Hist. Vol. 3, p. 58. 

Characteristics. Teeth forty to forty-eight on each side, above and below, slender, subequal, 
slightly bent, pointed. Length 6-8 feet. 

Description. Body cyhndrical, tapering, with a smooth, hard coriaceous skin. Eyes small, 
low down, and near the angle of the mouth. Spiracle single, on the summit of the head, above 
the eyes. Beak the length of the head. Teeth subequal, equidistant, interlocking with each 
other, somewhat larger towards the posterior part of the jaw. Swimming paws placed low, 
longer than broad, half way between the end of the beak and the dorsal eminence, subfalcate. 
Dorsal eminence triangular, curved backward, ten inches high, and nearly the same at base. 
Tail lunate, with two long pointed lobes. 

Color. Dark greenish black above ; white beneath, and greyish on the sides. 

Length 6-8 feet. 

The name of Dolphin, which is applied to this animal, is also given by sailors to a species 
of fish. Tliis is the true Dolphin of the ancients, concerning whose docility and fondness for 
music such marvellous stories have reached us. I am indebted to Mr. Audubon for an oppor- 
tunity of presenting the accompanying figure, reduced from a sketch made by him of an 
individual six feet long. 

The Sea Porpoise is generally seen in large herds. Upon one occasion, I saw during a 
storm a troop of these animals. They swam abreast of each other, and the line extended 
nearly a mile. Their movements, as they sprang over a wave, were very beautiful. They are 
exceedingly ravenous, living upon all the gregarious tribes of fishes. They rarely approach 
soundings, unless in pursuit of their prey. 


P. c-flZi'cr^casw, Harlan. (Fossil.) From the Maryland tertiary. (See Bulletin Nat. Instit. Washington; 

No. 2.) 



Ac. Sc. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 8 vols. 8vo. Philad. 1817 et seq. 

Am. Jmir. The American Journal of Sciences and the Arts, conducted by B. SUliman. 

Am. Phil. Soc. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. 6 vols. 4to. Phila. 1771 - 1809. New Serie.':. 

1818 et seq. 
Am. Jour. Gcol. Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science. 8vo. Philad. 1831 and 32. 
Am. Month. Mag. The American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review. 4 vols. 8vo. New- York, 1817-19. 
Ann. Iajc. Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New- York. 4 vols. 8vo. New- York, 18'34 et seq. 
Ann. Mus. Annates du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, 20 vols. 4to. Paris, 1802-13. 

Ashe, T. Memoirs of Mammoth, and various other extraordinary and stupendous bones of Incognita or Nondescript 
Animals found in tlic vicinity of tile Ohio, Wabash, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Osage and Red Rivers, &c. 
By Th. Ashe, Esq. pp. GO, 8vo. Liverpool, 1806. 
Belkkaf. History of New-Hampshire. 3 vols. 8vo. Boston, 1792. 

Bon. Sag. Saggio di una distribuzione metodica degU animali vertebrati, di C. L. Bonaparte. Roma, 1831. 
BoN. Oss. Sulla seconda edizione del Regno ahimale del Barone G. Cuvier, Osservazioni. pp. 175, 8vo. Boloirna, 1830, 
Brisson. Regnum Animale, sive Synopsis Mctliodica, &c. 8vo. Lug. Bat. 1762. 
Cai. Nat. Hist. Cabinet of Natural History and American Rural Sports, by J. Doughty. 4to. Philad. 
Cate.sby. Natural History of Carolina, Florida and New-Bahama Islands. 2 vols. fol. Lond. 1731. 
Clinton. Letters on the Natural History, &c. of the State of New- York. 8vo. New- York, 1822. 
Cuv. R. A. Le Regne Animal distribue d'apres son organization, &c. 4 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1817. 
Cuv. Oss. Foss. Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles de Quadrupedes. 5 vols. 4to. Paris, 1821 -24. 
Cdv. F. Des dents de Mammifercs considerees comme caracteres zoologiques, par F. Cuvier. 8vo. Paris, 1825. 
Desmarest. Mammalogie; ou Description des Especes do Mammiferes, par A. G. Desmarest. 4to, Paris, 1820, 
Eights. Papers on Natural History, published in the Zodiac. Albany, 1835 - 6. 
Emmons. Report on the Cluadrupeds of Massachusetts, by E. Emmons, pp. 36. Boston, 1838. 

" Second Report, pp. 83. Boston, 1840. 

Ersleben. Systema Regni Animalis, Classis 1, MammaUa. 8vo. Lipsis, 1777. 
GoDMAN. American Natural History : Mastology. 3 vols. 8vo. Philad. 1826. 

" Rambles of a Naturalist, by the same. Philad. 1823. 

Griffith. The Animal Kingdom arranged in conformity with its organization, by E. Griffith and others. 16 vols, 8vo, 

Lond. 1827-35. 
Guekin. Magazin de Zoologie, public par F. Guerin. 8 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1831 et seq. 
Harlan. Fauna Americana ; bcmg a description of the Mammifcrous Animals inhabiting North America, pp. 318. 

8vo. Philad. 1835. 
Harl. Med. and Phys. Medical and Physical Researches, by R. Harlan, M. D. pp. 653. 8vo. Philad. 1835. 

Fauna. 18 


Hitchcock. Catalogue of the Animals and Plants in Massachusetts. 8vo. Amherst, 1835 

luh. Prod. Prodromus Systematis Mammaliiim et Avium, Caroli Illigcri, Berolini, 1811. 

Leach. Zoological Miscellany, by W. E. Leach. 3 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1814 - 17. 

Lewis and Clarke. Travels to the Pacific Ocean in 1804, 5 and 6. 

Lin. or L. Systema Natura;. This work passed through many editions, but the 12th is the one referred to. 

Lit. and PhU. Transactions of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York. 4to. New-York, 1815. 

Long. Exp. Expedition, &c. to the Rocky Mountains, under the command of Major Long. 

Loud. Mag. Magazine of Natural History, and Journal of Zoology, Botany, &c. conducted by J. C. Loudon. 8vo. 

Mem. Mm. Memoires du Museum d'Histoirc Naturelle. '20 vols. 4to. Paris, 1815 et seq. 

Lond. 1829 et seq. 
Pallas. Spicilegia Zoologica. 4to. Berlin, 17G7-80. 

Peale, Rem. An Historical Disquisition on the Mammoth, or great American Incognitimi. 8vo. pp. 91, Lond. 1803 
PEtiti. Arct. Zool. Arctic Zoology, by Thos. Pennant. 3 vols. 4to. London, 1784-7. 
Penn. Hist. Quad. History of Uuadrupeds. Third edition. 2 vols. 4to. Lond. 1793. 
Richardson, F. B. A. Fauna Boreali Americana, or the Zoology of the Northern Parts of America, Part 1. 4to. 

Lond. 1829. 
Sabine. Appendix to Franklin's First Journey. 4to. Lond. 1822. 

Schoolcraft. Travels to the Sources of the Mississippi River, by H. R. Schoolcraft. Albany, 1821. 
Schreber. Die Saugethierc, &c.; or History of Mammalia. 5 vols. 4to. Erlangen, 1775 et seq. 
SiBBALD. Phalainologia Nova ; sivc observationes de rarioribus quibusdam batenis, &c. 8vo. Edinburgi, 1692. 
Temminck. Monographies dc Mammiferes, &c., par C. J. Temminck. 4to, Paris, 1825. 
Williams. Natural and Civil History of Vermont. 

Wilson. American Ornithology, by Alexander Wilson. 9 vols. 4to. Philad. 
Hool. Jour. Zoological Journal. 5 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1825 et seq. 
Zool. Syl. A Zoological Syllabus and Note Book. l2mo. Troy, 1823. 




Bat, genus, 5 

— New- York, C 

— Hoary, 7 

— Little BrowTi, 8 

— Silver-haired, 9 

— Carolina, 10 

Bear, genus, 24 

— Black, 24 

Beaver, 72 

Beaver Field-mouse, 86 

Bison, 110 

Button-nose Mole, 14 

Cat, Wild, .31 

— Domestic, 47 

Canada Porcupine, 77 

Cougar, 48 

Chipmuck, 63 

Deer, Common, 113 

— Moose, 115 

De Kay's Shrew, 17 

Deer-mouse, 70 

Dog, 41 

Dolphin, 186 

Elephant, (fossil,) 100 

Elk, Flat-horned, 116 

— Black, 116 

— Round-horned, 119 

Ermine, 36 


Fisher, 31 

Forster's Shrew, 20 

Fox, Grey, 45 

— Red, 44 

Goat, Common, 112 

— Rocky Mountain, . 112 

Ground-hog, 69 

Ground Squirrel, 63 

Grampus, 134 

Hare, Northern, 95 

Horse, 107 

— (fossil,) 108 

Hog, Common, 106 

Jumping Mouse, 82 

Lynx, Northern. 50 

— Bay, 51 

Manatee, 123 

Mink, 37 

— Mountain, ._. 38 

— Water, 38 

Mouse Common, 82 

— Jumping, 82 

— Marsh Meadow,.. 84 

— Tawny, 85 

— Beaver Field, ... 86 

— Oneida Meadow, . 88 

— Light-colored do. . 89 

— Yellow-cheeked do. 90 


Moose, 115 

Mastodon, (fossil,) 102 

Musquash, 75 

Musk-rat, 75 

Musk Beaver, 75 

Opossum, 3 

Oneida Meadow-mouse,. . 88 

Otter, 39 

Ox, 109 

Panther, Northern, 47 

Pine Marten, 32 

Pond Dog, 72 

Porcupine, 77 

Porpoise, 133 

Puma, 47 

Rabbit, Grey, 93 

Raccoon, 26 

Rat, Brown, 79 

— Black, 80 

— American, 81 

Rorqual, 131 

Rein-deer, 121 

Sable, 32 

Sea-dog, 54 

Shrew, genus, 17 

— De Kay's, 17 

— Short-tailed, 18 

— Small, 19 




Shrew, Porster's, _. 20 

— Carolina, 21 

— Broad-nosed, 22 

Shrew-mole, 15 

Skunk, 29 

Seal, Common, 53 

— Hooded, 55 

Star-nose, 12 

Squirrel, genus, 57 

— . Little Grey, 57 

— Fox, 59 

— Red, 61 


Squirrel, Black, 60 

— Striped, 62 

— Flying, 65 

Sheep, Common, 111 

— Rocky Mountain,. 112 
Stag, American, 118 

— (fossil,) 120 

Walrus, 56 

Weasel, genus, 31 

— New- York, 36 

— Small, 34 

— Brown, 35 


Weasel, White,... 37 

Whale, genus, 124 

— Right, 124 

— Sperm, 128 

— Social, 132 

— Beaked, _. 130 

— Northern, 131 

Wolverene, 27 

Wolf, 42 

— Black, 43 

— Grey, 43 

Woodchuck, 68 



[The species in italics liave not been observej in this State.] 


ArctomidjE, 66 

Arctomys moiiax, 68 

— empetra, 70 

— pruinosus, 70 

— brachyurus, 70 

Antilope americana, 112 

Arvicola albo-rufescens,. . 89 

— borealis, 90 

— ferrugineus, 91 

— gapperi, 91 

— hirsuius, 86 

— noveboracensis,. 90 

— nutlali, 91 

— oneida, 88 

— pensylvanicus, . 90 

— pinetorum, 91 

— rufescens, 85 

— richardsoni, 91 

— rubricatus, 91 

— xanthognathus, . 90 

— riparius, 84 

Aplodontia leporina, 91 

BAL.ff;NiD«, 123 

Balaena mysticetus, 124 

Bison americanus, 110 

BoviD^, 109 

Bos taurus, 109 

— mosckatus, 110 


Bos bombifrons, (fossil,). _ 110 

— latifrons, ( id. ).. 110 

— pallasi, ( id. ).. 110 

Canid.s:, 41 

Canis familiaris, 41 


Castor fiber, 72 

Castorid^, 72 

Castor ohioensis, 75 

CapridjE, 110 

Capra hircus, 112 

— americana, 112 

CERVIDiE, 113 

Cervus virginianus, 113 

— alces, 115 

— macrotis, 118 

— leucurus, 118 

— ncmoralis, 118 


Condylura cristata, 12 

DelphiniDjE, 132 

Delphinus delphis, 136 

— calvertensis, . . 136 

Dicotyles torquatus, 107 

DidelphidjE, 2 

Didelphis virginiana, ' 3 


Enhydra lutris, 41 


Elephantid^, 99 

Elephas primigenius, 100 

— americanus, 101 

Elaphus canadensis, 118 

— americanus (fossil), 120 

Equid-e, 107 

Eqmis caballus, 107 

■ — asinus, 108 

— major (fossil), 108 

Felid^e, 46 

Felis maniculata, 47 

— concolor, 47 

Fiber zibethicus, 75 

GerbilliDvE, 70 

Geomys douglasi, 92 

— umbrinus, 92 

— talpoides, 92 

— bulbivorus, 92 

— bursarius, 92 

— borealis, 92 

— iownsendi, 92 

Georychus helvolus, 91 

— trimucronaius, 91 

— hudsonius, 91 

— grcenlandicus, 91 

Globicephalus melas, 132 

Gulo luscus, 27 

HystricidjE, 77 



Hystrix hudsonius, 77 

Lagomys princeps, 98 


Ijepus americanus, 95 

— glacialis, 97 

— aquaticus, 97 

— palustris, 97 

— campestris, 97 

— longicaudatus, 97 

— nanus, 93 

— nigricaudatus, 97 

— callfornicus, 97 

— richardsoni, 97 

— townsendi, 97 

— ariimesia, 98 

— bachmani, 98 

Lupus occidentalis, 42 

LUTRID^, 39 

Lutra canadensis, 39 

— lataxina, 41 

Lyncus borealis, 50 

— rufus 51 


Mastodon maximus, 102 

Manatid^, 122 

Manatus americanus. 123 

— latirostris, 123 

— giga.ntens, 123 

Megalonyx jeffersoiii, 99 

Megatherium curieri, 98 

Meles lahradoria, 27 

Mephitis americana, 29 

Meriones americanus, 70 

Molosnus cynocephalus, _ _ 11 

— fuliginosus, 11 


Mustela canadensis, 31 

— inartes,. _ 32 

— pusilla, 34 

— fusca, 35 

— frenata, 35 

MuRiD^a;, 79 

Mus decumanus, 79 

— rattus, 80 

— americanus, 81 

— musculus, 82 



Mus leucopus, 82 

Neotoma floridanum, 91 

— drummondi, 91 

Otisorex platyrhincus, 22 

— longirostris, 23 

0^^s aries, 111 

— montana, 112 

— mammilaris (fossil),. 112 
Plecoius lecontii, 11 

— townsendi, 11 

PnociDi;, 53 

Phoca concolor, 53 

Phocasna communis, 133 

— orca, 134 

Physeter macrocephalus, . 1 28 

Procyon lotor, 26 

Pteromys volucella, 65 

— sabrinus, 66 

— oregonensis, . . 66 
Putorius vison, 37 

— noveboracensis, . 36 



Rangifer tarandus, 121 

Rorqualus rostratus, 130 

— borealis, 131 

— aiistralis, 131 

Scalops aquaticus, 15 


Sciurus leucotis, 57 

— v-ulpinus, 59 

— hudsonius, 61 

— niger, 60 

— striatus, 62 

— auduboni, 64 

— carolinensis, 64 

— capistratus, 65 

— colleij 65 

— dovglasi, 04 

— fuliginosus, 64 

— lanuginosus, 65 

— macrourvs, 64 

— nigrescens, 65 

— quadrivittatus, . . 64 

— richardsoni, 64 

Sigmodon horlense, 91 


SORECID.1!, 12 

Sorex dekap, 17 

— brevicaudus, 18 

— cinereus, 21 

— cooperi, 22 

— fimbripes, 22 

— parvus, 19 

— palustris, 22 

— forsteri, 20 

— carolinensis, 21 

— richardsoni, 21 

Spermophilus lateralis, . . 67 

— tredecem- 

lineatus, 67 

— douglasi,. . 67 

— parryi, 67 

— beechyi, 67 

— franklinii, 67 

— richardsoni, 67 

— grammurus, 67 

— guitatus, - . 67 

— ludovicianus, 67 

Stenunatopus cristatus, 55 

SciDvE, 106 

Susscrofa, 106 

Trichecus rosmarus, 56 

— virginianus (fossil), 56 

Tapirus, 107 

Trogontherium ohioense,. 75 


UrsiDjE, 23 

Ursus americanus, 24 

— ferox, 25 

— m.aritimus, 25 

Vespertilionid*, 5 

Vcspertilio noveboracensis, 6 

— monticola, 11 

— pruinosus, 7 

— virginianus, . 1 1 

— subulatus, S 

— noctivagans, . 9 

— carolinensis, . 10 
Vulpes fulvus, 44 

— -virginianus, 45 

— velox, 46 

Zeuglodon harlani, 123 



Plate I. 
Fig. 1. The Silver-Haired Bat (Vespertilio noctivagans). 
2. The New- York Bat (V. noveboracensis). 

Plate II. 
Fig. 1. The Carolina Bat (V. carolinensis). 
2. The Hoary Bat (V. pruinosus). 

Plate III. 
Fig. 1. The North American Otter (Lutra canadensis). 
2. The Little Brown Bat (V. subulatus). 

Plate IV. 

Fig. 1. The Common 8tar-nose (Condylura cristata). 
2. The Common Shrew-mole (Scalops aquaticus). 

Plate V. 
Fig. 1. The Broad-nosed Shrew (Otisorex platyrhincus). 

a, under side of the head ; h, lateral view of the skull. 
2. De Kay's Shrew (Sorex dekayi). 

Plate VI. 
Fig. 1 . The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus). 
2. The Raccoon (Procyon lotor). 


Plate VII. 
Fig. 1. The Red Fox (Viilpes fulviis). 
2. The Grey Fox (V. virginianus). 

Plate VIII. 

Fig. 1, A. Skull of the Beaver (Castor fiber). 

B. Vertical view of the teeth. 

2, A. Skull of American Porcupine (Hystrix hudsonius). 
B. Upper jaw teeth of the same. 

c. Lower jaw of the same. 

3, A. Skull of the Mink (Putorius vison). 
B. Teeth in the upper jaw of the same. 

Plate IX. 

Fig. 1 . Whelp of the Northern Panther (Felis concolor). 
2. Adult of the same. 

Plate X. 
Fig. 1 . The Bay Lynx or Wild Cat (Lyncus rufus). 
2. The Northern Lynx (Lyncus borealis). 

Plate XI. 

Fig. 1. The Mink (Putorius vison). 

2. The American Sable or Marten (Mustek martes). 

Plate XII. 

Fig. 1. The Skunk (Mephitis americana). 
2. The Wolverene (Gulo luscus). 

Plate XIII. 
Fig. 1. Skull of the Fisher (Mustek canadensis). 

2. The New- York Ermine, winter di-ess, (Putorius jioveboracensis). 

Plate XIV. 

Fig. 1. Tlie Small Weasel (Mustek pusilla). 

2. The New-York Ermine, summer dress, (P. noveboracensis). 

Plate XV. 
Fig. 1. The Hooded Seal (Stemmatopus cristatus). 
2. The Opossum (Didelphis virginiana). 

Plate XVI. 

Fig. 1. The Striped Squirrel (Sciurus striatus). 
2. The Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volucella). 


Plate XVII. 

Fig. 1. The Black Squirrel (Sciurus niger). 
2. The Red Squirrel (Sc. hudsonius). 

Plate XVIII. 
Fig. 1. The Little Grey Squirrel (Sciurus leucotis). 
2. The American Seal (Phoca concolor). 

Plate XIX. 
Fig. 1, A. Skull of the Morse (fossil), seen nearly in front, (Trichecus virginianus). 
B. View of the upper jaw teeth of the same. 

2. Skull of the Sable (Mustek martes). 

3, A. Jaw teeth of the Trogontherium ? fossil. 

Lower jaw of the same. 

Plate XX. 
The Beaver (Castor fiber). 
The Musquash (Fiber zibethicus). 

Plate XXI. 
The American Black Rat (Mus americanus). 
The Carolina Shrew (Sorex carolinensis). 

Forster's Shrew (Sorex forsteri). 
The Woodchuck (Arctomys monax). 

Plate XXII. 
The Tawny Meadow-mouse (Arvicola rufescens). 
The Marsh Meadow-mouse (Arvicola riparius). 

Plate XXIII. 
The Jumping Mouse (Mus leucopus). 
The Yellow-cheeked Meadow-mouse (Ar. xanthognathus). 

Plate XXIV. 
Fig. 1. The Light-colored Meadow-mouse (Ar. albo-rufescens). 
Dentition of the same. 
2. The Deer Mouse (Meriones americanus). 

Plate XXV. 
Fig. 1. The Oneida Meadow-mouse (Arvicola oneida). 
2. The Beaver Field-mouse. 
Dentition of the same. 

Fauna. 19 


. 1. 



. 1. 











Plate XXVI. 
Fig. 1. The North American Porcupine (Hystrix hudsonius). 
2. The Northern Hare (Lepus americanus). 

Plate XXVII. 
Fig. 1. Tlie American Grey Rabbit (Lepus nanus). 

2. Tlie Common American V^olf (Lupus occidentalis). 

Plate XXVIII. 
Fig. 1. The American Deer (Ceri'us virginianus). 
2. The American .Stag (Elaphus canadensis). 

Plate XXIX. 
Fig. 1. The Fossil Stag, skull, horns and teeth, (Elaphus americanus). 
2. The Moose (Cervus alces). 

Horns of the second and third year. 

Plate XXX. 
Fig. 1. The Beaked Whale (Rorqualus rostratus). 

2. The Manatee (Manatus americanus). 

Upper and front views of the snout. 

3. The Social Whale (Globicephalus melas). 

Plate XXXI. 
Fig. 1. The Sea Porpoise (Delphinus delphis). 

2. The Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus). 

3. The Right Whale (Balasna mysticetus). 

Plate XXXII. 
Fig. 1. The Grampus, a single tooth, lower jaw, (Phocjena orca). 

2. The American Elephant, fossil tooth, (Elephas americanus). 

3. The Musquash, skull, (Fiber zibethicus). 

4. The Manatee, skull, (Manatus americanus). 

Plate XXXIII. 
Fig. 1. North American Otter, skull, (Lutra canadensis). 

2. Teeth in the upper jaw, right side of the same. 

3. Vertical view of the same skull. 

4. The Southern Beaked Whale, skull, (Rorqualus australis). 

n.iH- 1 

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